NEW DELHI: NDA's Bihar allies have failed to clinch a seat-sharing deal till late evening with Mahadalit leader and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi playing hardball, demanding more seats than what has been offered by the alliance spearhead BJP.
Manjhi’s associates, who had yesterday threatened to reconsider continuing in the alliance if a "respectable" offer was not made, today said BJP has made concessions but some issues remain unresolved.
Manjhi, the Hindustani Avam Morcha (secular) chief, had told reporters earlier in the day he was not upset after Union Minister and BJP’s Bihar election in-charge Ananth Kumar, his ministerial colleague Dharmendra pradhan and the party's state in-charge Bhupender Yadav held a series of meetings with him.
Confabulations are still on to thrash out a seat-sharing formula acceptable to all allies.
Though BJP has a strong Dalit ally in LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan, it wants Manjhi on its side during the high-stakes state elections to bring in the Mahadalit votes.
BJP president Amit Shah, party sources said, cancelled his Mysore visit to oversee the negotiations.
Manjhi was said to be unhappy after he was offered 13-15 seats by the BJP and sought to draw a parity with Paswan's LJP, which was tipped to get around 40 seats. Those privy to the talks said BJP wanted to contest around 160 of the state's 243 seats, leaving 25 for RLSP of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha.
LJP and RLSP have agreed to the seat-sharing formula brought forth by BJP but a final announcement has been delayed due Manjhi’s disagreement with it.
Manjhi had yesterday met Shah at the latter's residence twice.
Meanwhile, taking potshots at the NDA over the wrangling on seat-sharing, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said when there is alliance "minus any principle and for opportunism, such things happen."
"This is the beginning of the contradiction. Let us see what is in store next. Such alliances based on personal ambition and lust for power do not survive.
"When you go for such alliances, these contradictions come out, which are the beginning of an end. People will give a befitting reply to them," Singhvi said.