Troubles ahead for National Democratic Alliance in Bihar

Patna: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to be heading for big trouble in Bihar, with its two key allies — the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) — angry at being offered a negligent number of seats under the seat-sharing deal. Reports said both the parties are now weighing the options of walking out of the NDA.

Informed sources said the RLSP is being offered two seats, whereas the LJP is being given four seats this time against three and seven seats they were allotted in the last 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The RLSP and LJP are headed by Upendra Kushwaha and Ram Vilas Paswan, who are federal ministers in the Modi government.

“There is no question of contesting elections on less than three seats,” RLSP’s national spokesperson Madhav Anand told the media on Thursday. The party instead has been seeking more than three seats, saying its support base has increased in the past four years since it joined the government.

The party’s acting national president Nagmani went to the extent of even predicting a disastrous performance by the NDA in the upcoming polls if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) didn’t mend its way and give “respectable” treatment to its smaller allies. He added the opposition Grand Alliance led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) would rather perform well in the polls since it had the support base.

“The NDA will badly lose the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The RJD has the powerful support base in Bihar and the BJP-JD-U combine won’t be able to give any challenge to it,” Nagmani has said. He added the party would take its decision the moment the seats were allotted to the RLSP.

The RLSP is angry at the way the BJP was giving too much prominence to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JD-U), which won only two seats in the last LS polls despite fielding candidates on all 40 LS seats. The RLSP, on the other hand, emerged victorious on all three seats it was given under the seat-sharing deal.

The LJP, too, is annoyed at not being accorded “respectable” treatment. What has annoyed the party leadership the most is the way the LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan is being told to keep out of the LS contest this time although the BJP has “assured” to nominate him to the Rajya Sabyha from Assam.

“Don’t try to underestimate the LJP. It has the huge support base,” state LJP president Pashupati Kumar Paras said, reacting to BJP’s seat offer. Paras who is the younger brother of LJP chief has sought more seats for his party this time. He said apart from Bihar, his party is interested in contested elections in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh as well.

Both the allies are angry at the way the BJP and the JD-U unilaterally announced to contest equal number of seats in next 2019 LS polls in Bihar. It is being speculated in the media that the LJP and RLSP will be spared only four and two seats respectively while the BJP and JD-U have planned to contest on 17-17 seats each.

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