PATNA: With an unofficial seat-sharing formula for NDA in Bihar floated by BJP on Thursday leaving only two seats for Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP, he is likely to snap ties with NDA and join the RJD-led grand alliance, which has reportedly promised six seats to his party.
As per NDA’s emerging formula for Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats for the polls in 2019, BJP will contest 20 seats while the rest will be divided among its three allies – JD(U), LJP, RLSP and RSPS. Sources said JD(U), led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has been allotted 12 seats; Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP five seats; RLSP two seats; and RSPS one seat.
“This is totally absurd and absolutely unacceptable. What we feared all along is coming true. Now the decks are cleared for RLSP to switch over to the other side,” said a senior RLSP leader, claiming that Kushwaha has made up his mind to join the RJD-led grand alliance.
Reliable sources in Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) said that Kushwaha, who has been in constant touch with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in recent weeks, had sought eight seats for his party in the grand alliance, but Yadav offered him six and he has accepted it.
“Several news outlets have reported about the seat sharing arrangement of NDA in Bihar saying RLSP would get two seats. I want to make it clear that no formal meeting of NDA has been held to discuss the sharing of seats. If there is truth in these reports, I think it is unfortunate,” said RLSP national general secretary Madhaw Anand in a tweet.
RLSP’s Bihar president Bhudeo Chaudhary said: “No such scheme has been officially announced. We believe we deserve to get considerably more seats than two”.
Kushwaha had stirred the political cauldron in Bihar by hinting at a possible coming together of the Yadavs and the Kushwahas. “If milk from the Yaduvanshis (Yadav community) and rice from the Kushwahas get mixed, kheer can be prepared,” he had said at a public function on Sunday.
The seat-sharing formula, being dubbed in Bihar as “BJP’s T-20,” has also left JD(U) unhappy. The Nitish Kumar-led party, which has 71 seats in the state Assembly against ally BJP’s 52, has been projecting itself as the “big brother” in Bihar NDA. It had reportedly presented to BJP chief Amit Shah the “17-17-6” formula, under which both BJP and JD(U) would contest for 17 seats each’ leave the rest ix for LJP and cut out RLSP altogether.
“Since RLSP has marginal influence in Bihar and has already indicated that it is on its way out of NDA, there is no reason to offer it two seats and one to Arun Kumar’s RSPS,” said a senior JD(U) leader.