NDA de­vises 20-20 for­mula for Bi­har

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - Vithika Salomi vithika.salomi@dnain­dia.net

Patna: The Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA) has drafted a 20-20 seat shar­ing plan for Bi­har’s 40 con­stituen­cies that go to polls dur­ing the 2019 Lok Sabha elec­tions. The Bharatiya Janata Party will “sac­ri­fice” two of its in­cum­bent seats and con­test from 20, while ac­com­mo­dat­ing al­lies Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Sa­mata Party (RLSP) on the re­main­ing 20 seats.

As part of the ar­range­ment, the JD-U, which has only two MPs in Lok Sabha, is likely to get 12 seats; the LJP, which has six in­cum­bent MPs, would be ac­corded five; and the RLSP, which has three MPs at present, will get two, one of which will go to dis­si­dent MP Arun Ku­mar, sources said.

The ten­ta­tive for­mula comes amid pres­sure from the NDA al­lies on the BJP to fi­nalise the share of seats so they could start fi­nal prepa­ra­tions. But there are no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tions from any party so far.

“Th­ese things will be de­cided by our cen­tral lead­er­ship. It can hap­pen any­time. It is not within my right to speak on this mat­ter,” said state BJP pres­i­dent and MP Nityanand Rai, adding that the al­liance would aim to win all 40 seats in the state.

The JD-U, which on sev­eral re­cent oc­ca­sions has sought a “re­spectable” share, stressed that talks were still un­der­way.

“For us, 12 is un­ac­cept­able and both BJP and JD-U should con­test on equal num­ber of seats,” a se­nior JD-U leader said on Thurs­day.

A source fur­ther said that it was un­clear whether Union Min­is­ter Upen­dra Kush­waha’s RLSP would fight the polls as part of the NDA com­bine, con­sid­er­ing the re­cent re­bel­lious state­ments made by him. “If case he doesn’t, two more seats may go to the JD-U,” the source said.

Union Min­is­ter and LJP chief Ram Vi­las Paswan said the seat divi­sion would be fi­nalised by his party’s par­lia­men­tary board pres­i­dent Chi­rag Paswan and re­fused to com­ment on the draft ar­range­ment.

If the draft plan is agreed to, it would mean that the NDA con­stituents bar­ring JD-U would have to with­draw tick­ets from some sit­ting MPs, which may cause some of them to de­fect. The BJP, which had fought from 29 seats in the 2014 elec­tions, had won 22.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi with Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter Ni­tish Ku­mar

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