Paswan for early seat-sharing decision among Bihar's NDA allies for 2019 polls
Patna, June 25: Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan today said all BJP-led NDA partners in Bihar wanted "an early decision" on seat sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The Union minister, whose party has already made clear that it would not sacrifice any of its six sitting seats in the state which has 40 parliamentary constituencies, expressed hope that the thorny issue would be settled soon.
"All the parties have cadres who need to be mobilized for the Lok Sabha polls well in time. That is why an early decision on the issue is desirable. I am confident that the issue would be resolved amicably", he told reporters here.
Paswan was replying to queries about discordant notes emanating from within NDA with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U), which had fought separately in 2014, asserting that it is the "big brother" in the coalition and hence it should get the lion's share. A fresh pitch to this effect was made by the JD(U) earlier in the day when a senior leader sought to remind the BJP of the NDA's dismal showing in the 2015 assembly polls when Kumar was not with the coalition.
"The BJP should remember the drubbing it had received in the last assembly polls. If it wants to repeat the dismal performance then it is welcome to contest as many seats as it wants in Bihar," JD(U) MLC and spokesman Sanjay Singh said. He, however, made it clear "I am not at all wary of the BJP giving our party a raw deal. We have been old allies and I am confident of an amicable solution. My statement is in the backdrop of the comments made by some BJP leaders who speak of fighting all 40 seats."
Though Singh, said to be close to Kumar, did not name any BJP leader, his remark was an obvious reference to a statement made by the saffron party's state general secretary Rajendra Singh a week ago wherein he had said the BJP would contest all the 22 seats that it had won in 2014, though it was galvanizing its cadre in all the 40 constituencies.
After Kumar snapped a 17-year-old alliance with the BJP in 2013, the BJP allied with the LJP and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) floated by the JD(U) leader's erstwhile associate Upendra Kushwaha. The NDA went on to win 31 out of the 40 seats in Bihar in 2014, riding the strong Narendra Modi wave, even as Kumar finished with a dismal tally of only two.
The RLSP, which had bagged three seats, has made its discomfiture with Kumar's leadership clear. While Kushwaha recently skipped a dinner hosted by BJP leaders for NDA leaders here earlier this month, his party issued a statement demanding that the RLSP founder be projected as the NDA's leader in Bihar since he belonged to Kushwaha community which was numerically stronger than Kurmi caste group of Kumar.