New Delhi: With the BJP’s ties with Lok Janshakti Party appearing to be in trouble over seat sharing in Bihar for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday.
An hour-long meeting between Paswan and his son Chirag, and BJP president Amit Shah and Jaitley on Thursday had remained inconclusive. However, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, who is his party’s in- charge for Bihar and was present in the meeting, insisted that there is no problem in the alliance and that it is intact.
On Thursday, Paswan also refuted reports of discontent with the BJP over seat sharing in Bihar and said that Chirag is the chairman of the Parliamentary Board and he will decide on the issue.
LJP sources said the BJP’s defeat in the five state polls have ignited a rethink in the party over its ties with the saffron party.
Chirag, sources said, had written a letter to Jaitley with a copy to Modi after the results were announced on December 11 and asked him to list the benefits of demonetisation so that he can “explain” them to people, they said.
In his comments to media, Chirag has spoken about unease among farmers and youths, and had also tweeted about the ruling National Democratic Alliance passing through “trying times”.
A delay in announcement about seat-sharing arrangement with the LJP has caused further unease in the regional party, which has often switched political camps ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
The LJP, sources said, wants a better deal than the BJP has offered it, more so after Kushwaha’s exit from the alliance.
Chirag had also aired his frustration with the delay in seat-sharing announcement and said it may harm the ruling alliance.
According to reports, following the exit of Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP from the NDA, which joined hands with the opposition’s ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) on Thursday, a cautious BJP is now making all attempts to ensure that the LJP remains intact in the Bihar NDA, with Shah playing the role of peacemaker to pacify the sulking allies.
After Kushwaha’s exit from the Bihar NDA earlier this month, the BJP reportedly told the Paswans that they could now contest on six seats – two more than the previous four seats offered in the alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
However, the father-son duo is believed to be sulking over the offer of one Rajya Sabha seat that was promised to them by the saffron party.
Ram Vilas Paswan, wary of being allotted fewer seats in NDA to contest in next year’s Lok Sabha polls than it has been demanding, on Wednesday gave the BJP an ultimatum of December 31 to finalise the seat-sharing scheme for Bihar.