BJP Breaks New Ground In Bihar, Goes One Up On Nitish Kumar In Seat Share

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BJP Breaks New Ground In Bihar, Goes One Up On Nitish Kumar In Seat Share

The BJP — long used to playing the supporting role to Nitish Kumar in Bihar —  has taken the lead for the first time and will spearhead the NDA attack in the state. The party will contest 17 of the state’s 40 seats, under a formula that was finalised today after the impasse with Chirag Paswan’s faction of the Lok Janshakti Party was resolved.

Mr Kumar’s Janata Dal United will field candidates on 16 seats, Chirag Paswan’s LJP will contest on five seats, Upendra Kushwaha and Jitan Ram Manjhi will contest on one seat each.

Chirag Paswan’s deal with the BJP came after a long impasse that was followed by claims that the Opposition bloc INDIA has been sending it feelers.  

While the BJP apparently offered him just six seats — to be split with his uncle Pashupati Paras — sources said the Opposition had offered LJP eight seats, all six it won in 2019 and two more in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh as bonus.

Chirag Paswan, who recently claimed that “Every Party, Every Coalition Wants Me To Be On Its Side,” settled for five seats today. But he made it clear after the meeting that his uncle Pashupati Paras would not be given any seat from his quota.

But sealing the deal is a huge plus for the BJP, which from a position of isolation imposed by Nitish Kumar’s defection to the  Grand Alliance, has suddenly found itself rich with his return.

But the party has made it clear that it was second to none — the one extra seat marking it as the alpha in the alliance.  

Even in 2019, the BJP and the JDU, after a silent and bitter face-off, had decided on a 50:50 formula and contested on an equal number of seats. The division was 17 seats each for the BJP and Mr Kumar’s Janata Dal United and six for Lok Janashakti Party, then led by Chirag Paswan’s father Ram Vilas Paswan.

The alliance had won 39 of the 40 seats — only one had gone to the Opposition.

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