PATNA: Smaller parties in Bihar have proved good bargainers while negotiating seats with bigger partners in both JD-U-led NDA and RJD-led Grand Alliance for the state assembly polls. The best deal was struck by NDA’s new entrant Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) — the BJP gave it 11 seats, four more than the expected.
Bihar-born Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni after campaigning as ‘Son of Mallah’ for the BJP during the 2015 elections formed the VIP in 2018.
The party thriving on caste-based politics of fisherman community and other SC groups had joined the Grand Alliance in 2019 and contested three LS seats of Madhubani, Muzaffarpur and Khagria. But it got nil.
Its bargaining capacity remained high because of its strong 16% vote bank of fishermen. Sahni claimed to have finalized 25 seats and the post of deputy CM with RJD in GA.
Given no space in the GA list, Sahni walked out. He went to Delhi and bargained for seats with the BJP, which had no option after the LJP’s exit for balancing the Dalit politics within the NDA.
The HAM, led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, is also a Dalit-driven party which exited the GA following a dispute over the formation of a coordination panel.
He haggled persuasively with the JD-U with his vote bank in a few districts of south Bihar.
The JD-U, frustrated in its attempt to win back the LJP, had to go with Manjhi and gave him seven seats. In 2015, the HAM had won only one seat.
Ditto with the RJD, a regional party much smaller than the Congress. It has got the lion’s share of 144 seats out of 243, which the Congress had to accept.
The seat negotiations were easy as the RJD flaunted 80 seats it won in 2015. The the CPI-ML, CPI-M and the CPI also bargained with the RJD and succeeded in their demand for 19 seats.