After hard bargaining that went on for over 3 months between JDU president Nitish Kumar and BJP president Amit Shah, the seat-sharing formula has taken a final shape for 2019 Lok Sabha elections for the state of Bihar, as per sources.
Although the official declaration is yet to be made, the sources within the NDA camp says:
“It would be 17 for BJP, 16 for JDU, 5 for LJP and two seats for RLSP. Initially, the JDU was demanding to contest equal no. of seats, however, in this scenario, the BJP is conceding 5 seats that it won in 2014 elections".
Earlier in September, Nitish Kumar in the JDU executive meeting had said that an honourable agreement has been made which will be announced officially. Seems like Nitish Kumar had the last laugh after getting 16 seats as the JDU had won merely 2 seats when it had walked out of the 13-year-old alliance with BJP 2013.
The reason behind BJP conceding 16 seats to the JDU is that BJP top brass very well understands the fact that Nitish Kumar has wider penetration within the 30 % OBC, 8% Kurmi kushwaha and 6% Dalit voters.
BJP has tasted defeat in 2015 Vidhan Sabha elections. In 2019 BJP cannot afford to antagonise Nitish Kumar when most of the allies have deserted the BJP. The formula seeks very little sacrifice from NDA, smaller constituents LJP and RLSP. However, the major sacrifice would be made by the BJP for accommodating JDU in an honourable manner.
BJP had won 22 seats in 2014 and hence it would be making a sacrifice of five sitting seats whereas LJP, which had won six seats would be sacrificing just one and for RLSP it would be no sacrifice given the fact that out of 3 seats it had won in 2014.
Arun Kumar from Jehanabad has made a separate political party after parting ways with RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha.
“I would neither confirm nor deny the formula that is doing rounds at present but one thing is certain that JDU would be getting honourable pie. Our party president Nitish Kumar has already said this. The formula looks fine if one applies this logic,” a senior JDU leader said.
State BJP leaders, however, didn’t appear much sure about the formula claiming that the central leadership would take the final call.
“We have not been briefed as yet. If something has been finalised among the top leaders of NDA constituents one cannot say much,” a BJP leader said while reacting to the formula.
Another senior BJP leader pointed out that the figures might change as RLSP has hinted about its ambivalence as far as continuing with the NDA was concerned. “Let’s wait and watch,” said this leader.
JDU and BJP leaders, however, didn’t appear much bothered about Upendra Kushwahas RLSP exit from the NDA camp and maintained that it would hardly affect the broader formula for seat-sharing.
It is expected that the seat-sharing formula might be announced officially within a fortnight. But one has to wait and watch whether or not Upendra Kushwaha walks out of the NDA as he is being offered 2 seats.
Meanwhile, RJD leader Tejashwi has openly offered Upendra Kushwaha to join hands with UPA and sources say that he is being offered 5 seats by RJD. Kushwaha had also met Lalu Yadav in AIIMS Delhi.