NEW DELHI: The BJP appears to be gearing up for negotiations with NDA ally JD(U) for seat adjustments for this year’s Bihar Assembly elections in the shadow of Jharkhand loss, attributed within the party to the alliance partner AJSU parting ways. The BJP leaders note that the party’s ground to stick to equal sharing of seats as in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has been weakened due to the loss in Jharkhand.
The BJP, sources said, is keeping a close watch on the statements of the JD(U) leaders arguing the Nitish Kumar-led outfit returning to the 2009 model. Incidentally, JD(U) leaders are arguing that the 2009 seat adjustment between the two parties should be the basis of the talks while drawing the line that Kumar wouldn’t settle down on less than 125 seats in the state. Bihar has a total of 200 Assembly seats.
“JD(U) leaders can talk of any number, which is only posturing when the elections are still about 10 months away. The seat adjustment talks will be held between the chief minister and the top leadership and the basis will be social engineering to cash in on the strengths of the alliance partners,” sources said.The JD(U) leaders in the recent days have spoken of the 2009 seat adjustment formula when the party was a senior partner and the 2015 strengths in the state Assembly after the two parties had contested the polls separately.
“In 2009, the JD(U) had contested about 1.44 times number of seats in the state than the BJP. The JD(U) strength in the current Assembly after the 2015 polls is about 1.35 times more than the BJP. The two models could be the basis for the negotiations,” said a senior JD (U) functionary.
BJP leaders termed the JD(U) “posturing” as “simplistic”. “The two parties concur that they will contest the elections together. The seat adjustment will drag closer to the elections and local factors, including the caste equations, will come in the picture. The JD(U) is aware of the BJP’s core social base. Also, the JD(U) is an important ally of the BJP,” a senior BJP functionary said.
JD(U) to field candidates on all Delhi seats
The Janata Dal (United) will contest the Delhi election alone. The JD(U), which has an alliance with the BJP in Bihar, will field “candidates on all seats in Delhi”. When asked about JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor rendering support to AAP, party spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said JD(U) has nothing to do with Kishor’s I-PAC.