New Delhi: Ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), a BJP ally in Bihar predicted that raising “contentious issues” like Ram Mandir and Triple Talaq could harm the National Democratic Alliance. Speaking to reporters during a three-day tour of Bihar, Paswan said that in his view the construction of a Ram temple at a disputed location in Ayodhya should not be an issue in the elections and referenced the BJP’s defeat in three state polls recently.

“Development should be the poll plank for the NDA, which, I am confident, will help the coalition win more than 35 of the 40 seats in Bihar. I am hopeful that the election will be fought on the issue of development and contentious issues like the Ram temple and Triple Talaq will be kept at bay. These may harm the coalition’s prospects,” LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan reiterated on Saturday.

Earlier, during election rallies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, star BJP campaigners like Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, had raised the Ram temple issue. “I expect from the prime minister and other NDA partners that we will continue to make development, problem of youth, farmers and deprived sections our main issue,” Paswan said, adding that the Supreme Court’s judgment on the temple issue, when it comes, should be accepted unconditionally.

Paswan’s statement comes days after the BJP and Janata Dal (United) finalised seat share deal in Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.  The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will contest six seats while the BJP and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) will contest 17 seats each, in the general elections in Bihar under a seat-sharing formula, BJP President Amit Shah had announced. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the JD-U also agreed to give a Rajya Sabha seat to LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan. The agreement on the seats was finalised after several rounds of meetings and discussion among the allies.