After Amit Shah's Snub, Giriraj Singh Hopes Better Seat-sharing Deal for BJP in Bihar
Begusarai: Chastened by party chief Amit Shah's assertion that Nitish Kumar will lead the NDA charge in the next assembly polls in Bihar, Union minister Giriraj Singh on Saturday hoped that BJP would clinch a seat-sharing deal on the same pattern as in the Lok Sabha in which it had contested as many seats as JD(U) headed by the chief minister.
In an apparent rebuff to the chief minister's detractors in BJP, Shah in a recent interview made it clear that the NDA will approach the hustings in 2020 under the leadership of Kumar and termed the JD(U)-BJP alliance as unshakeable.
"I abide by whatever our party president says. He has made it clear that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will head the NDA in the assembly polls next year. So that is the party line and I shall abide by it," said Singh who is known to be a strident critic of Kumar.
The firebrand BJP leader represents Begusarai in Bihar in the Lok Sabha. To a pointed query about seat-sharing arrangements, he said, "We fought equal number of seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
I hope the same pattern is maintained in the Assembly elections as well." In the parliamentary elections, the BJP and the JD(U) settled for 17 seats each while the third NDA constituent, Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP was given six.
The coalition made a clean sweep with BJP and LJP winning all the seats while JD(U) bagged all but one. In the state assembly, the JD(U) has close to 70 members as against the BJP's tally of just over 50.
In the assembly polls of 2005 and 2010, when the NDA comprised only JD(U) and BJP, the former contested 142 out of the 243 assembly seats in the state while the latter fielded its candidates in the remaining 101.
There have been speculations that in the backdrop of its rising nationwide clout and the fact that it sacrificed five of its sitting Lok Sabha seats in the general elections to accommodate JD(U) which returned to the NDA two years ago after having walked out in 2013 the BJP may insist on a more equitable distribution of seats between the two parties.
Daggers were drawn between the allies recently when a BJP MLC and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan perceived to be close to Giriraj Singh openly pitched for his party staking claim over the chief minister's post after the next assembly polls.
The chasm grew deeper earlier this month when Singh launched repeated attacks on the Nitish Kumar government over water-logging in Patna, evoking strong reprisal from the JD(U) even as opposition parties like the RJD and the Congress sought to fish in troubled waters by egging on the chief minister to dump the BJP and join the anti-NDA front.
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