Seat sharing deal for Bihar poll: Chirag Paswan expresses shock over seats allottment to LJP

BJP chief Amit Shah with other alliance partners for Bihar polls

New Delhi, Sept 15: Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan on Tuesday said that the party was not upset with the 40 seats allotted to them for the Bihar Assembly polls, but slightly shocked and taken aback, as it was not the number of seats that was promised to them.

“There is no question of any strife within the party as LJP has never believed in numbers. Our goal is to ensure NDA Government’s victory in eradicating ‘jungle raj’ from Bihar, which is why the number does not matter,” Paswan told the media here.

He clarified that there was no negative feeling within the party over the number of seats allotted to them, but that when the numbers were revealed some concerns arose.

“Our cadres were a little disappointed because what was delivered, was not what was promised to them,” Paswan said.

Earlier on Monday, BJP sealed a seat sharing pact for the Bihar assembly polls with its allies under which it will contest 160 of the 243 seats, while sparing 20 for Mahadalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM(S), besides 40 for
Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP.

Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP got 23 seats to fight in the high-stakes elections starting October 12.

Flanked by key alliance leaders like Paswan and Kushwaha besides Manjhi, BJP chief Amit Shah said an “united” NDA was on its way to securing two-thirds majority in the state against the “crumbling” alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Congress.

Presenting a united face, Shah claimed acrimony among alliance partners, especially LJP and Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (secular), was behind them and all differences sorted out.

“There is no tug of war. There is no tension. You can see their smiling faces,” Shah said, pointing to Paswan and Manjhi and sounding as much relieved as happy after finally thrashing out a seat-sharing arrangement acceptable to all the allies.

With allies by his side, the BJP chief attacked rivals, saying the Bihar chief minister was promising to provide a crime-free rule in alliance with Prasad whose tenure in 1990s was dubbed by Kumar as ‘jungle raaj’.

BJP’s Central Election Committee is also meeting tomorrow and could announce names of many party candidates for at least the first few phases of assembly elections scheduled on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5.

Asked about RJD chief Prasad’s assertion that the election will be for ‘Mandal Raaj-2’, a reference to the 1990s when backward castes rose to dominate the state’s politics, Shah said NDA had more “mandal-wale” (backward and weaker groups) leaders.

Taking on Nitish Kumar, he said the chief minister was citing developmental figures which he had achieved when BJP was a partner in his government and asserted that development had now come to a stop, while crime was rising.

He said it was the “fear” AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi which had prompted the grand alliance to accuse BJP of being behind his decision to contest the state polls. Shah said everybody knew that Owaisi would never wish his party well.

Responding to a query about actor-turned-BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha being upset with the party and reports that he will not be fielded as a major campaigner, he said all BJP workers would campaign. The BJP chief said the party was yet to submit its list of star campaigners to the Election Commission.

(With Agency Inputs)

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