Seat pact with BJP finalised, says Nitish
‘Respectable Agreement Reached’
Patna: Putting a lid on speculation over which way JD(U) would go in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday told the party’s state executive members that a “sammanjanak samjhauta” (respectable agreement) has been reached with BJP on seat-sharing for the polls.
“Two rounds of talks (on seat-sharing) with BJP chief Amit Shah have been held. I have finalised seat-sharing with him. I can assure you that we have got a respectable share. But, I cannot reveal the number of seats at this moment because we have resolved to announce the details together. I have not revealed the number of seats even to people around me,” sources quoting the Bihar CM at the JD(U) meet told TOI.
Nitish’s assurance to party workers comes amid apprehension in JD(U) circles that BJP might be averse to leaving many of the seats it won in 2014 when his party finished with just 2 seats. On August 30, BJP had unofficially proposed a ‘2020 formula’ to its NDA allies for 40 LS seats in Bihar. BJP wanted half of these seats while leaving12 for JD(U), six for Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and two for Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP. JD (U) had expressed its unhappiness over this division of seats.
Nitish told JD(U) spokes- persons present at the meeting “not to speak anything about seat-sharing” in the media, a senior leader told TOI. Nitish said JD(U)’s strength in the Lok Sabha would definitely increase after the 2019 polls.
Nitish also announced at the meeting that he would expand his cabinet after a month. As per rules, Bihar can have 35 cabinet ministers. Seven of these posts are vacant. He also said the vacant posts in boards and corporations would be filled up in the coming months.
The closed-door meeting was held for nearly four hours. Apart from senior leaders, Prashant Kishor, who formally joined the party on Sunday, also attended the meeting.
Bihar CM and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar presenting the party’s membership receipt to Prashant Kishor (left) in Patna on Sunday