With only two days left for nomination for the first phase of Assembly elections, the JD(U) and BJP on Tuesday announced the much awaited seat-sharing pact and said that Nitish Kumar is the chief ministerial candidate of NDA in Bihar.
At a joint press conference in Patna, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said that his party JD(U) has been allotted 122 seats and the BJP has been given 121 seats. Jitan Ram Manjhi, who returned to the NDA fold a month earlier, has been given seven seats from the JD(U).
“JD(U) has been allotted 122 seats. We are giving seven seats to HAM. BJP will allot seats to VIP from their quota,” Mr Kumar said.
Dismissing rumours of misunderstanding between the JD(U) and BJP, he said that they have been working together for the development of the state. The confusion in NDA was created after Chirag Paswan’s LJP recently walked out of the alliance, saying it won’t accept the leadership of Nitish Kumar in Bihar.
“People keep saying so many things but I just do my work. I want to say, how did Ram Vilas Paswan reach Rajya Sabha? Do you think he reached there without our party’s support? How many seats do they have in Bihar Assembly, just two? So it is clear that JD(U) and BJP supported him,” Mr Kumar said.
Political analysts are of the view that Chirag Paswan quitting NDA may change the political scenario in the state. Reports suggest that the party has been trying to expand its base in Bihar by wooing leaders who are being refused tickets from the JD(U).
The BJP also used the occasion to rebuff the LJP and clarified that “any party rejecting the leadership of Nitish Kumar will not be part of the NDA in Bihar”.
Senior BJP leader and Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said that his party has already clarified that “Nitish Kumar is the leader of NDA in Bihar and there is no ifs and buts about it”.
“Mr Ram Vilas Paswan in not well and we want him to recover soon. Had he been well all this would not have happened,” Mr Modi added.