Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah met Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar over breakfast in Patna on Thursday morning to discuss the seat-sharing formula ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Shah, who is in Bihar to mend frayed ties with ally JD(U) in the politically crucial state, drove straight to the state guest house where he met Nitish in the presence of deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and BJP's national general secretary in-charge for Bihar, Bhupendra Yadav.
Ahead of the meeting, a senior JD(U) leader told The Indian Express that the parties could settle for a "formula of equity, parity and mutual respect" and that JD(S) is not looking at playing the "elder brother" to BJP.
The JD(U) is reportedly expecting an arrangement similar to the one it had with the RJD for the 2015 Assembly elections. While the parties are in alliance in Bihar, Nitish hasn't yet joined the NDA at the Centre.
The NDA which had won 31 seats in Bihar is witnessing claims and counter-claims made by leaders of NDA constituents after JD(U) returned to its fold. Old partners — BJP, LJP and RLSP — had won 22, 6 and 3 seats respectively from Bihar, while JD(U) which had fought separately with the Left parties, had managed only two seats in the last parliamentary poll in 2014. With the two parties joining hands, however, the fresh allotment of seats among partners seems to be a difficult task.
Meanwhile, BJP party sources said it is happy with the outcome of the JD(U)'s national executive meeting in Delhi on Sunday. "The party's statements after the meeting have laid to rest many rumours about the future of the alliance in Bihar. It did not make any claims or demands over seats," said a party leader, as per The Indian Express' report.
At the meeting, Nitish had said that he was yet to receive any proposal from BJP on the seat-sharing formula for the 2019 general elections but maintained that the alliance was intact.
According to the report, another senior party leader said, "We do not know what the BJP will offer us, but they have been very graceful so far. We know the BJP values us and will offer an agreeable number. It is not about what the BJP did in 2014 and how we fared then; it is about how we can do well together in 2019."
But BJP sources maintained that the seat-sharing formula is a decision that lies with party chief Amit Shah, and the state leadership has not received any feelers from the central leadership on this.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jul 12, 2018 13:32:26 IST