New Delhi, June 19: Amid reports of growing rift between the NDA allies in Bihar over seat sharing for the forthcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said that they are planning to contest all 23 Lok Sabha seats it won last time in the state. Speaking to reporters at Sasaram, BJP state general secretary Rajendra Singh said,”We are going to field candidates in all the constituencies in Bihar that we won in the last polls. BJP leaders and workers have started working for next year’s polls, and I am sure NDA candidates would win all the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.” Furthermore, he added,”There would be no compromise on the sitting seats.”

Following Singh’s statement that the party would not share its winning seat with allies, particularly the Janata Dal United (JD-U) that joined hands with the BJP last July to form government in the state, JD-U spokesperson Sanjay Singh said if the BJP was confident to win all seats, it did not need any allies. The Janata Dal United leader advised Singh to avoid making such statements in public ahead of the general elections.

There are reports of growing differences among constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over seat sharing for the 2019 polls. Citing lack of coordination in the BJP-led NDA, RLSP chief and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha earlier this month demanded a decision on distribution of seats among the allies for the parliamentary elections.

Soon after, the LJP of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan also said that it would not compromise on the seats held by it and supported the contention of Kushwaha. Two senior JD-U leaders Pawan Verma and K.C. Tyagi also claimed that Nitish Kumar would spearhead the NDA challenge next year, and later other party leaders said that the party would contest 25 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar as it did in 2009 as an ally of the NDA.

In 2014, the BJP had won 23 of 40 Lok Sabha seats and its allies — Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP)  had won six and three seats, respectively. Interestingly, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had contested 2014 polls on its own and won only two of the 40 seats.

(With agency inputs)