NDA discusses Bihar, no talks on seat-sharing

New Delhi


BJP national president Amit Shah on Monday held a meeting here with the NDA's allies in Bihar to discuss the strategy for the upcoming state assembly polls, though the main issue of seat-sharing was not discussed.

"We held an informal meeting today (Monday). Within a week, we will decide on the seat-sharing for Bihar polls," union minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters after the meeting.

Paswan also stated that there was no difference in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over seat sharing and it will be done amicably in the coming days. He claimed that NDA would get a two-thirds majority in the assembly polls.

"A joint campaign strategy and measures to strengthen the front were discussed in the meeting," Paswan added.

According to sources, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) put across their concerns to Shah and demanded that the issue of seat-sharing be resolved soon.

Shah, however, clearly told them that talks on seat-sharing would be held only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's September 1 rally at Bhagalpur.

Shah assured the BJP allies that justice would be done to every coalition partner in seat-sharing, sources said. Shah also asked his allies to speak in one voice on every issue.

Monday's meeting came following the demand of the LJP and the RLSP that the seat-sharing arrangement be finalised soon.

Meanwhile, Paswan dubbed the 'Swabhiman' rally of Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress combine as a "flop show", saying Congress president Sonia Gandhi was "insulted at the rally".

"The rally was a flop show of the Nitish-Lalu combine. After this rally, the Congress and JD-U should merge into the RJD," said Paswan.

"Sonia Gandhi wasn't given priority as a speaker. She was insulted when she was asked to speak before RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar," the union minister added.

Former Bihar chief minister and HAM (S) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi said seat-sharing would be finalised by the first week of September and the priority of the BJP-led alliance was to defeat the grand alliance of JD-U, RJD and Congress.

"There are many able leaders in the NDA who are chief ministerial candidates," Manjhi said when asked who would be the NDA's choice for the top post in Bihar.

The final decision on the chief ministerial candidate would be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added.

RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha said the alliance would speak in one voice with their foremost priority being a big victory.

The meeting was attended by Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan, RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha and Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Apart from Shah, union ministers Ananth Kumar and Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP general secretary and in-charge of Bihar Bhupendra Yadav attended the meet.

The JD-U, RJD and Congress alliance has already announced its seat sharing arrangement for the 243-member Bihar assembly. - IANS