A couple of weeks after his party expressed unhappiness with the BJP’s proposed formula for seat sharing in Bihar for the 2019 general elections, Janata Dal United chief Nitish Kumar today said an “honourable agreement” had been reached with the BJP.
“Honourable agreement has been reached with the BJP on seat sharing. A formal announcement will be made later,” the Bihar chief minister said in Patna today.
According to the BJP’s first draft of the plan, that was reported last month, it would have contested in 20 of the 40 seats in Bihar; the party along with allies holds 31 seats. 12 seats would have gone to the JDU, six to Ram Vilas Paswan and two to Upendra Kushwaha.
The JDU had at the time said the plan was neither fair nor “honourable”.
“Even BJP knows it is not acceptable,” a JDU leader had said and added that ideally, there should be equitable distribution between the two parties. Each should get 17 seats, and Ram Vilas Paswan, the leader said, should get the remaining six.
Upendra Kushwaha, he had indicated, need not be factored in, since by all indications, he is on his way out of the alliance. With his recipe of kheer — milk from the Yadavs and rice from the agrarian Kushwahas — the Union minister has triggered buzz that he might change partners.
In 2014, the BJP had won 22 seats and the NDA 31. The JDU, fresh from a break-up with the BJP after a 17-year alliance, won only two seats. While Nitish Kumar went on to partner with the Congress and Lalu Yadav’s party and won the state elections in 2015, he was back in the BJP fold barely 20 months later.
But sharing of the state’s 40 seats has been a contentious issue and in July, BJP chief Amit Shah flew down to Patna to test the waters. When the BJP missed the August 12 deadline to settle the issue, the JDU issued a reminder. Party leader KC Tyagi said given JDU’s resources constraints, it would need clarity on the issue to “contest wholeheartedly”.