New Delhi: While the BJP and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) have announced to contest equal number of Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the confusion over whether Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP will be a part of the NDA continues to remain at large.
Following a meeting with BJP General Secretary and Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, Union Minister Kushwaha said that he has made the saffron party of what his party and supporters want. He said that while the discussions were positive, nothing over seat sharing has been finalised yet.
Meanwhile, an IANS report said that the BJP is understood to have offered two seats to the RLSP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In the 2014 polls, the RLSP contested three seats as part of the NDA alliance and won all of them.
“We have made Bharatiya Janata Party aware of what our party & supporters want for seat-sharing (in 2019 Lok Sabha polls). They said we will hold discussions.
Discussions were positive but nothing has been finalised yet,” ANI quoted Kushwaha as saying.
Last week, soon after BJP chief Amit Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced the seat-sharing pact, Kushwaha met Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, setting off speculation that he was not happy with the developments.
While the meeting raised several eyebrows in the political arena, Kushwaha termed it a mere co-incidence and that he was busy working to make Narendra Modi prime minister again.
“We are in NDA and we want to see (Narendra) Modi ji as the Prime Minister again after the 2019 polls. Modi ji is a must for the country,” Kushwaha told reporters in Bihar’s Rajgir.
On Tuesday, when asked about his meeting with Yadav at Arwal Circuit House, Kushwaha said, “Media persons were also present there. Tejashwi Yadav came to my room at circuit house. I went for party-related work and Tejashwi Yadav was already present there. We met in presence of a lot of people. ”
Without revealing the number of seats, Shah and Kumar announced that their parties will fight on equal seats in the 40-member strong Bihar Assembly, adding that Kushwaha’s RLSP and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP will remain in the NDA.
He added that the number of seats both parties, besides two other allies —LJP and RLSP — will contest in 2019, will be announced soon.
Sources in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which includes the BJP and its partners, said the BJP and the JD(U) may contest 16 seats each, with six and two to be left for parties led by Paswan and Kushwaha respectively.
To a question about whether Kushwaha, whose equation with Kumar is far from cordial, will remain a part of the NDA, Shah answered in affirmative and asserted that the alliance will do better than the last polls when it had won 31 seats.
A former close aide of Kumar, Kushwaha had floated the RLSP after quitting the JD(U) in 2013, comprising mostly disgruntled party leaders.
Despite its fine performance in 2014, the RLSP fared dismally in the assembly polls a year later as it returned with a tally of two in a 243-strong Vidhan Sabha.
Although uncomfortable with Kumar’s return to the NDA, the RLSP has so far been maintaining that it was firmly with the BJP-led coalition notwithstanding feelers being sent by the RJD that it was welcome into the Mahagathbandhan.