PATNA: The day Hemant Soren took oath as 11th chief minister of Jharkhand, poll strategist and Janata Dal (U) vice-president Prashant Kishor dropped a bombshell on the BJP in neighbouring Bihar by demanding that the seat-sharing formula between the two NDA allies be revisited and that
In an apparent bid to mount pressure on the BJP, which is still smarting from its loss in Maharashtra and now Jharkhand, Kishor clearly indicated that the JD-U intended to play the ‘big brother’ in the NDA in the coming Assembly polls.
“There is no need for JD-U to ‘demand’ more seats. In Bihar, JD-U is leading the government which BJP is supporting. Whenever talks are held on seat-sharing for 2020 elections between the two parties, the formula would be what it was in 2009 and 2015,” Kishor said.
“Now, LJP is also in NDA. So naturally, number of seats between BJP and JDU wouldn’t be equal, but JD-U deserves to be contesting more seats than the BJP, even if the basis of seats won in 2015 is considered for finalising the seats-sharing,” he added.
The Bihar assembly has 243 seats. In 2015, the JD-U contested as part of the Mahagathbandhan with RJD and Congress. Of the total 101 seats it contested, the party won 71 while the BJP won 55 seats. The RJD had emerged the largest party with 81 seats.
The assembly election in Bihar is eight-nine months away, but Kishor’s statement clearly rattled the BJP and evoked a sharp reaction from its state leaders.
Nikhil Anand, BJP spokesperson, said: “The BJP believes in maintaining decorum and discipline and not making any public statement, which only has news value. All the decisions in the NDA related to election 2020 is a matter of discussion between the top leadership of the parties.” Some JD-U leaders said Kishor’s statement was his personal view.