Bihar polls: Seat-sharing pact shocks LJP

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New Delhi: Just a day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced a seat-sharing pact with allies for the Bihar assembly elections, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party said on Tuesday that it was a shocker for them. Lok Janshakti Party is NDA’s biggest ally in the state.

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The LJP has been offered 40 seats. However, it claimed that the final announcement was different from what was offered to it initially.

“There are media reports about the LJP being unhappy. There is no smoke without fire. But, we are not upset. We were shocked. We have expressed our concerns to BJP chief Amit Shah and he has assured us that he will ‘honour’ them. We have no reasons to doubt him,” LJP MP Chirag Paswan told reporters.

He added, “The BJP did not inform us about the final number of seats that the LJP was getting. We did not ask for it either.”

According to a leading news daily, LJP is ‘disappointed’ with the formula that was applied in the case of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. It is because the same distribution procedure of seats among these two parties was not applied to the LJP.

While the RLSP got 23 seats, HAM managed 20 seats in the alliance. The BJP had initially offered 18 seats to RLSP and 13 to HAM.

The LJP is perturbed with the fact that the BJP did not stick to the formula – for every ally – that had been agreed upon a couple of days ago and the RLSP and HAM managed to gain extra.

“We are not upset at a certain number of seats being given to Kushwaha or Manjhi. We never cared about the number of seats. But, we were disappointed in the manner in which the announcement was made,” said Chirag.

“We have given a list of such leaders (of HAM) to the BJP leadership against whom we have certain reservations. We will have a meeting to discuss these issues and our reservation stands at this point of time,” said Chirag.

After the seat-sharing announcement on Monday, Shah is learnt to have spoken to the older Paswan and sought to address his concerns. Shah also had a late night meeting with Chirag on Monday, wherein the BJP chief made a certain offer to placate the sulking LJP leaders.

Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan also drove to Paswan’s residence on Tuesday morning to avoid a crisis like situation.