After BJP president Amit Shah's statement that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would be the chief ministerial candidate of NDA in 2020 Bihar assembly elections, the leadership debate may have been settled. But the real challenge of seat-sharing has to be resolved. BJP leaders have already started asking Nitish Kumar to show a large heart. Union Minister Giriraj Singh, a staunch critique of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar may have accepted him as the CM face with a heavy heart after Amit Shah's declaration. But the firebrand leader has demanded that BJP-JD(U) should contest on equal number of seats as they did in the Lok Sabha elections.
Giriraj said while speaking to reporters: "Now that BJP president has declared Nitish Kumar as CM candidate, we will abide by that but in Lok Sabha elections BJP JD(U) fought on equal number of seats. We expect that the Vidhan Sabha elections will also be fought on the same pattern. This is the feeling of the workers."
It's an open secret that JDU wants to contest at least 20 seats more than the BJP in Vidhan sabha elections and the BJP wants to be on equal footing, like the seat-sharing arrangement for Lok Sabha elections, when both BJP and JDU contested on 16 seats, each leaving 6 seats for LJP.
When asked to comment on Giriraj Singh's statement, Bihar State BJP president and Lok Sabha MP Sanjay Jaiswal said: "Nitish ji has already shown a large heart by leaving a Rajya Sabha berth for our candidate Satish Dubey after the death of Ram Jethmalani ji. There is synergy within the NDA at the top level. I only react to statements made by state spokesperson. As far as seat sharing is concerned whatever our national president will decide, Bihar BJP will abide by that."
Many JDU leaders feel that in the 17-year-old alliance prior to 2013 JDU was the big brother. In 2010, JDU had contested 141 seats and BJP 102 seats out of 243 seats. Even in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, JDU had contested 25 seats and BJP 15 seats.
On Giriraj Singh's statement, JDU spokesperson KC Tyagi said: "It is too early to discuss on these issues. Leader of both the party Nitish Kumar and Amit shah will sit and resolve all the issues. Seat sharing will not be an issue , since , this alliance came into existence with the involvement of president of both parties. Henceforth, I request leaders of alliance partners to restrain themselves from making any comments, which will create confusion among the rank and file. We should work together to strengthen NDA and building a new and progressive Bihar under the leadership of NItish Kumar."
Bihar assembly elections are a year away but JD(U) would want to contest at least 20 more seats than the BJP. But the BJP leaders feel that Nitish Kumar should a large heart like BJP did in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and contest on equal number of seats, leaving rest for LJP. BJP, despite having won 22 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections conceded 6 of its winning seats and the JDU and BJP contested on 16 seats each.