Bihar Vidhan Sabha elections are almost 9 months away, but the seat-sharing dispute between the alliance partners within the NDA has gained momentum. LJP MP and younger brother of Ramvilas Paswan, Pashupati Nath Paras has clearly stated that the seat-sharing formula of 2019 Lok Sabha elections should be adopted. That ways the BJP -JDU should contest 100 seats each, leaving the rest 43 seats for the LJP.
This statement of Pashupati Paras has come after JDU Vice President Kishor had said 10 days ago "JDU will play the role of Big brother in the assembly polls and will contest more seats than the BJP. Kishor had also said that the seat-sharing formula of 2010 assembly polls would be adopted and that ways the JDU will contest 130 seats ."
Pashupati Paras has questioned the credentials of Prashant Kishor and went on to say: "In 2014 BJP, was in alliance with LJP, HAM, RLSP. In 2015 Vidhan sabha elections RJD JDU alliance defeated NDA and formed the govt and after one and half years JDU joined NDA. How can we accept the formula of 2010 Vidhan sabha elections?"
He added: "At that time BJP and JDU were alliance partners, LJP was not a part of the alliance. In 2019 Lok Sabha elections it was decided that BJP and JDU will contest an equal number of seats. 17 seats each to the BJP and JDU, leaving 6 seats for the LJP. JDU had 2 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections, despite that they got 17 seats. Our strike rate in the last Lok Sabha elections was higher than any party in the country. For the 2020 Vidhan sabha elections, Presidents of the BJP, JDU and LJP will sit and discuss seat sharing. We are preparing ourselves for elections, in 2015 assembly elections we had contested 43 seats .our party votes transferable .we want that NDA should consider the formula of the seat-sharing adopted in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. There is no other option but for the BJP and JDU to contest an equal number of seats. My formula is JDU BJP to contest on 100 seats each and LJP on 43 seats under the leadership of Nitish Kumar ."
JDU spokesperson KC Tyagi took objections to Paras statement that JDU joined NDA in 2017 only. Tyagi further said : "Paras ji should know that Nitish Kumar is the founder of NDA. As far as seat sharing is concerned, the Party Presidents of BJP, JDU and LJP will resolve it amicably ."
Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah have already declared that NDA, will contest Bihar assembly polls under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. But after Prashant Kishor's statement, there is growing restlessness among both the BJP and LJP. Even though both BJP and LJP are not taking Prashant Kishor statement seriously, but it is for sure that Kishor had made the statement on seat sharing after having a word with Nitish Kumar. Sources in the JDU say that Nitish Kumar is not going to compromise for less than 125 -130 seats leaving the rest for BJP LJP out of 243 seats.
Now after, the debacle in Maharashtra and Jharkhand, BJP is very cautious about not losing another important ally Nitish Kumar's JDU. BJP and JDU flexed their muscle in 2014 Lok Sabha elections when Nitish Kumar was trounced badly and in 2015 assembly polls when Nitish defeated the BJP comprehensively. BJP also understands the penetration of Nitish Kumar among the 30 per cent extremely backward caste votes, and his popularity as an administrator, henceforth BJP will readily agree to play second fiddle to Nitish Kumar and also try and placate LJP to be accommodative.