JDU Says, No 16-17 Deal, Will Get As Many Seats As BJP

JDU Says, No 16-17 Deal, Will Get As Many Seats As BJP

JDU Says, No 16-17 Deal, Will Get As Many Seats As BJP 

New Delhi: Today, it was made clear by Nitish Kumar's party that it won't allow the BJP a numerical advantage even by one seat in Bihar in next year's Lok Sabha elections. This comes, a day after BJP sources told the media that the seat sharing issue was tackled and 16-17 seat sharing was agreed.  However, the sources in the Janata Dal United said the party had been assured of as many seats as the larger ally.

"Whatever impression we have gathered from our party chief is that in the agreement which was finally conveyed to him, both parties will contest the same number of seats," a senior leader of Janata Dal United said.

About the media reports regarding the seat sharing deal, under which JD(U) gets one less seat than the BJP, he said, "See, a week ago, everyone was saying our party won't get more than 12 seats... you will see, what we are saying is ultimately correct".

The BJP sources had yesterday said that under a deal made in presence of PM Modi, party chief Amit Shah and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the BJP was to get 17 of the state's 40 Lok Sabha seats. The Bihar CM was promised16 seats, whille other BJP ally, Ram Vilas Paswan was to get six seats and Upendra Kushwaha two seats.

Scaling down the party's hopes of contesting more than 20 seats, they said, was a gesture to indicate their commitment to the alliance.

Also Read: Prashant Kishor Says I Will Not Contest Polls

The Bihar CM,  Nitish Kumar whose party had just claimed seats in 2014 after a split with the BJP -- had initially demanded parity on seats with the Bhartiya Janata Party, which won 22 seats. Mr Kumar's party had later said they want a "respectable" number of seats. That stand appears to have been recalibrated.

Weeks after his party turned down the BJP's first draft on seat sharing, in September, the Bihar CM,  said an "honourable agreement" has been reached and a formal announcement will be made later.

It is reported that the cold war between the two parties had not been called off and the formal announcement is yet to come. The Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) has made it clear that the alliance with the BJP is confined only to Bihar. The party has been busy fielding candidates elsewhere.

The sources in the BJP had indicated that they were holding off the announcement to get smaller allies, like Upendra Kushwaha and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, on board. However, today, Mr Paswan's son Chirag Paswan said that so far, no formal talks on seat sharing have been initiated.

In the capital of Bihar, Patna, Chirag Paswan's uncle Kumar Paras said they expect more seats than last time. The party had contested seven seats, in 2014, but the BJP's latest informal formula gives it only six seats.

However, Chirag Paswan amended: "In the larger benefit of the alliance, there's no doubt that all the allies will have to sacrifice some seats to accommodate Nitishji, who has his own base and popularity".

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