NDA finalises seat-sharing in Bihar; BJP maintains upper hand over JD(U)

BJP to contest 17 seats; JD(U) 16

Bihar NDA seat-sharing [File] Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar | PTI

In Bihar, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has retained the seat sharing formula of the previous Lok Sabha elections. Well, almost. 

In 2019, the BJP and its ally Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) contested 17 seats each. This time, the BJP will contest the same number of seats, but one more than the JD(U). Even if marginally, it sends out a message that even though the JD(U) has its CM in the state, for Lok Sabha, the BJP is bigger in stature. 

Numerically, the BJP and the JD(U) have followed the 2019 results where the saffron party won all the 17 seats, while the JD(U) could win 16, losing one to the grand alliance. 

Announcing the seat-sharing arrangements, BJP general secretary and party’s Bihar in-charge, Vinod Tawde, said, “BJP will contest on 17, JD(U) on 16 seats; the LJP will contest on five, while Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awami Morcha and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rahstriya Lok Morcha on one seat each. We will win all the 40 seats.”

BJP national general secretary Vinod Tawde with Bihar BJP president Samrat Choudhary addresses a press conference, in New Delhi | PTI BJP national general secretary Vinod Tawde with Bihar BJP president Samrat Choudhary addresses a press conference, in New Delhi | PTI

With the announcement, Chirag Paswan has made a comeback into the NDA with some strength as the BJP picked his party over his Uncle Pashupati Paras’s  faction which was part of the NDA after the Lok Jan Shakti Party split following its founder Ram Vilas Paswan’s death. Paras took most of the MPs with him barring Paswan’s son Chirag. 

Chirag was forced to form his own party. Given his age and his aggressive campaigning in the state which pitches him as a long term player in state politics, the BJP is betting on him. The alliance with the BJP makes him the inheritor of his father Ram Vilas Paswan’s legacy instead of latter’s brother. He is likely to contest from his father’s seat, Haripur. Last time, the united LJP had contested Six seats and won all.

Though the BJP has not made it clear, there were suggestions that Paras could be given a gubernatorial post or be accommodated through the Rajya Sabha.

One seat each from LJP and JD(U)’s quota of last time has been given to the HAM and the RLM. In 2019, these parties were not part of the NDA.

Senior JDU leader, Sanjay Jha said, “We have amicably fixed the entire alliance unlike the opposition grouping. The opposition is missing on the ground. We will win all the 40 seats.” 

Bihar Deputy CM and state BJP chief Samrat Chaudhary also emphasised that the alliance was poised to win all the 40 seats.

Tawde also announced the names of seats to be contested by each party. Two of the JD(U)’s seats have been changed.  Now, the parties are likely to announce candidates soon for campaigning to begin. 

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