Ending days of intense speculation, the NDA on Tuesday announced its seat-sharing formula for Bihar assembly polls under which JD(U) will contest on 122 seats and BJP 121 out of a total of 243 seats.
BJP backed to the hilt Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as its leader in the state and rebuffed a rebellious Chirag Paswan while acknowledging his LJP as an ally “at the Centre”.
At a press conference which was attended by top leaders of the JD(U) headed by Kumar and the BJP, it was made clear that “only those who accept the chief minister’s leadership will be deemed to be a part of the NDA in Bihar”.
By late evening, the BJP released its first list of 27 candidates for the three-phase Bihar assembly polls, starting from October 28.
The BJP and JD(U) have settled for a formula wherein each constituent gets almost an equal number of seats and misgivings about the BJP changing its mind post-polls in the event of a better strike rate than the JD(U) were summarily dispelled.
— BJP Bihar (@BJP4Bihar) October 6, 2020
— Janata Dal (United) (@Jduonline) October 6, 2020
BJP BREAKS SILENCE, BACKS NITISH OVER CHIRAG
The crowded press conference was held nearly two hours after a marathon meeting held at the Chief Ministers official residence which was attended by top leaders of the BJP, including its national general secretary in-charge for the state Bhupendra Yadav, election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis and state president Sanjay Jaiswal.
After the meeting was over, Jaiswal appeared at a media centre set up by the party at a city hotel to give a soundbite, less than a minute long, wherein he reaffirmed the NDA’s full support to Nitish Kumar.
Notably, the saffron party’s cryptic silence over the belligerence of LJP chief Chirag Paswan, who had been taking potshots at the JD(U) chief for quite some time and openly revolted against him a couple of days ago, is said to have raised suspicions in the JD(U) camp.
The BJP, on its part, is said to have grown uncomfortable with Chirag Paswan’s talk of helping the formation of a government headed by the saffron party besides his insistence on using the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and slogans seeking to drive a wedge between BJP and JD(U).
The saffron party is also said to have been riled by a development earlier in the day when Rajendra Singh, a senior BJP leader from Bihar with deep roots in the Sangh Parivar, was inducted by Chirag Paswan into the LJP at New Delhi.
Delhi: Bihar Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice president Rajendra Singh joins Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in presence of LJP chief Chirag Paswan. pic.twitter.com/WT7onCcEU3
— ANI (@ANI) October 6, 2020
Expressing rejoice over the development, Chirag had announced that Rajendra Singh will be fielded from Dinara constituency in Rohtas district, from where the JD(U) has fielded sitting MLA and minister Jai Kumar Singh.
Journalists present at the press conference also posed a question about whether the BJP will insist on having its own Chief Minister if it performed better than the JD(U) in the October-November polls.
Speculations in this regard have grown strong since the Lok Sabha polls of last year wherein both BJP and JD(U) contested 17 seats each and the former won all but the latter settled with all but one.
“Please be rest assured. Nitish Kumar will be our Chief Minister irrespective of which party gets how many seats”, Sushil Kumar Modi said in reply to the question.
— BJP Bihar (@BJP4Bihar) October 6, 2020
Asked whether the LJP would cease to be a part of the NDA following the developments in Bihar, Sushil Modi replied cryptically “as Sanjay Jaiswal has already said, LJP is our ally at the Centre”.
NITISH KUMAR BRUSHES AWAY CHIRAG’S CHARGES
CM Nitish Kumar, as well as Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Sanjay Jaiswal both of whom spoke on the BJP’s behalf, expressed their fondness for Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan who had founded the LJP but sought to make light of his son’s antics.
“Did Ram Vilas Paswan become a Rajya Sabha member without the JD(U)s support?” asked Kumar in response to a query about Chirag Paswan’s allegation that the Chief Minister’s party never gave allies their due.
“I believe in doing my job. I wish to take forward the growth trajectory that began under my stewardship 15 years ago…..I do not have anything to say about inconsequential things which some people may utter to derive some pleasure”,
Nitish Kumar said dismissively, seeking to attach little importance to Chirag Paswan’s agenda of ‘Bihar First Bihari First’.
The 37-year-old LJP president has sought to pit his agenda against “saat nishchay” (seven resolves) programme of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
FIRST LIST OF BJP CANDIDATES OUT
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday released the first list of its candidates for the upcoming Bihar assembly polls. The list names 27 candidates for the seats going to polls in the first phase on October 28.
The names include international shooter Shreyasi Singh from Jamui constituency and former MP Hari Manjhi from Bodhgaya.
First list of 27 BJP candidates for the ensuing General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar. pic.twitter.com/DU1qCIsCP8
— BJP (@BJP4India) October 6, 2020
The list of candidates includes three ministers in the Nitish Kumar’s cabinet-Prem Kumar, Ram Narayan Mandal and Vijay Kumar Sinha.
The BJP has named Munni Devi from Shahpur assembly seat in the Buxar district. There was speculation in the media that former Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey, who took VRS and later joined the JD(U), will enter into the fray from this seat.
Former state minister and the RJD’s old-timer Raghvendra Pratap Singh finds a place in the BJP’s list from his traditional Barhara constituency in the Bhojpur district.