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LJP chief’s demand for Rajya Sabha seat from Assam delays seat-sharing pact

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New Delhi, Dec 21: The demand for Rajya Sabha seat for Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan is the main hurdle that is disrupting the issue to get resolved. Both the parties are more or less agree on the fact that LJP will contest on six seats in Bihar on which the LJP has its sitting MPs.

LJP chief’s demand for Rajya Sabha seat from Assam delays seat-sharing pact

Sources said that the LJP chief is eying a Rajya Sabha seat in February 2019 as some seats are getting vacant in Assam and the Bharatiya Janata Party is in the government in the state. Actually, the LJP chief wants to play safe this time around as he does not want to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election. So if he gets Rajya Sabha seat, he will be relaxed and Chirag Paswan will take care of the elections.

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But the BJP does not want to give Paswan Rajya Sabha nomination in February as there is an apprehension that Paswan might switch side in March just before Lok Sabha elections. So the BJP wants to look every possibility before taking any decision on the issue. This was the reason that talks between the BJP and LJP remained inconclusive and it was told that the issue will be discussed further. Sources said that the role played by some of the leaders in the BJP who are detached from the ground reality is also spoiling the case for the alliance.

Due to all these issues, the LJP started asserting itself in the name of seats and alliance to be formulated before December 31, 2018. BJP chief Amit Shah finally met with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan. Paswan's party has been flexing its muscles by saying that the issue of alliance is getting delayed. It attempted to pressurise the BJP to finalise the pact soon.

Animal husbandry minister in the Bihar government and LJP leader Pashupati Kumar Paras said that the BJP should call a meeting of NDA leaders and resolve the seat sharing issue. Calling for joint discussions, Paras, younger brother of Ram Vilas Paswan, had said, "We want the seat sharing issue to be resolved by December 31, as elections have come closer and a lot of preparation has to be done."

Seat sharing isn't the only issue on which there is discontentment against the BJP. "We raised a number of issues; such as farmers unrest, the impact of demonetisation, jobs and many more, to BJP leadership, but, they have not taken cognizance on it," a senior LJP leader said. "The outcome of the recent elections has proved that these challenges are real and we can't ignore them."

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Paras' ultimatum to the BJP came a day after Paswan's MP son Chirag Paswan cautioned the BJP in two tweets saying that it should treat its allies with respect and that any delay in talks would hurt the NDA.

But another source said that all these issues raised by LJP are symbolic, the real issue is Rajya Sabha seat for the LJP chief and the moment assurance is given, the matter stands shorted out.

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