Nitish Rejects NCP Ultimatum on Seat-sharing in Bihar

Nitish Kumar ruled out a rethink on seat-sharing formula for \'Grand Secular Alliance\' for the state Assembly polls.

Published: 17th August 2015 06:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2015 06:02 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today ruled out a rethink on the seat-sharing formula for the 'Grand Secular Alliance' for the state Assembly polls, a day after NCP's ultimatum for reconsideration by August 20 and its insistence on 12 seats.

"We have left three seats for the NCP and instead of us they would have to decide whether they want to be in the grand secular alliance or not," Kumar told reporters here.

Sharad Pawar's NCP, which was with JD(U)-RJD alliance in the recent elections to the Legislative Council, had yesterday served an ultimatum to the secular alliance to reconsider the seat-sharing formula for by August 20 failing which "all options" will be open to it.

"Injustice has been meted out to us in seat-sharing. We will not tolerate it. We are giving an ultimatum to the grand alliance to reconsider seat distribution by August 20, otherwise all options are open for us. The ball is now in their court," NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar had said.

"We will not agree on anything less than 12 seats. It is our demand and its acceptance or rejection will decide whether we remain in the grand alliance or exit from it," Anwar, Lok Sabha member from Katihar, said.

While formalising the alliance on August 12, JD(U) and Lalu Prasad's RJD had decided to contest 100 seats each in the 243-member Assembly and left 40 for the Congress. No announcement was made with regard to the rest three seats but Kumar had indicated these could go to NCP if it wanted to join them.

Kumar, who has already been declared the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, made light of the NCP ultimatum and a dharna by a section of Samajwadi Party saying, "If everything becomes smooth, media would have nothing to write."

No seats had been set aside for Samajwadi Party whose president Mulayam Singh Yadav had brokered peace between Kumar and Lalu to pave the way for formation of the alliance to take on BJP, which together with Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and RLSP of Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, is making a determined bid to dislodge JD(U) after a 10-year stint in power.

Lalu had then said he would spare a few seats from his quota for Samajwadi Party if there was a need.

Kumar said the alliance's August 30 rally will be very important but refused to confirm media reports about SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attending it. "We are discussing it and media would be informed about it in time," he said.

Kumar, however, confirmed attending a programme with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the national capital on August 19. "An invitation has come from Kejriwal for the Bihar Samman Samaroh in Delhi on August 19 which I have accepted," he said.

The two leaders have met quite a few times in the recent past and speculation is rife that Kejriwal's AAP will back Kumar's bid for a third successive shot at power in Bihar.

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