PATNA: Dispelling doubts about any cracks in the unity of three NDA constituents, their chiefs today said they would jointly campaign for next month's elections to 24 seats of the Bihar Legislative Council, which is being seen as the semi-final for the Assembly elections later this year.
"Workers of the three parties have been working together to ensure victory of NDA nominees on all seats," BJP's Mangal Pandey told a joint press conference which was also attended by Pashupati Paras and Arun Kumar of LJP and RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party), respectively. As per their seat-sharing arrangement for the Council polls in the first week of July, BJP has put up nominees for 18 seats followed by four by LJP and two by, RLSP which is led by Union Minister of State for HRD, Upendra Kushwaha.
The press meet today came in the wake of some discordant voices arising recently over the name of the NDA's chief ministerial candidate and also for allotment of seats for the upcoming Assembly polls. At its national executive meeting at Hajipur, RLSP had last week mooted Kushwaha's name as the alliance's chief ministerial candidate. The party had also asked BJP to stick to the 102 Assembly seats which it had fought earlier in partnership with JD(U) and leave the remaining 141 seats for RLSP and LJP.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had played down the issue, saying it was the view of one party and all the issues would be sorted out in a meeting of NDA after the Council polls. Union minister and LJP President Ramvilas Paswan had said that neither him nor anybody else from his party was a contender for the chief minister's post and it would accept whoever was selected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
At the press conference, NDA also issued a joint manifesto for the July 7 Council elections, for which the electorate comprises the members of local bodies. In the manifesto, the BJP-led NDA promised to double the allowance for ward members of panchayats to Rs 1,000. The ward members would get a bicycle and, on their recommendation, one handpump would be alloted, the manifesto said, adding that mukhiyas would get a Rs 1,500 allowance over the Rs 2,500 they receive. They would also get Rs 2,000 as fuel allowance, it added.
Other representatives of local bodies would get a 25 per cent hike, it said. Every panchayat would be able to spend Rs 50 lakh annually on developmental works under different headings. The manifesto also said it would enhance the value of the projects that can be cleared by mukhiyas from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh. All the panchayats would be computerised, it added.