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Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Who will be the elder brother – BJP or JDU?

“Wo lad rahe hain Bihar par raj karney ke liye, ham lad rahe hai Bihar par naz karne ke liye (They are fighting to rule over Bihar, I am fighting to bring pride to Bihar)” said a full front page advertisement of Dainik Bhaskar in Bihar.

Surprisingly, the advertisement was not issued by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the main opposition party in Bihar but rather Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) which is a part of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Needless to say that the BJP and JDU collectively have formed the state government in Bihar. 

This advertisement was indirectly challenging the Nitish Kumar’s government. However, this was not the first-time LJP opposed Nitish Kumar. Chirag Paswan, young face of the LJP and son of Ramvilas Paswan who is founder of the party, have criticized Nitish Kumar in the past on the issues like migrant labourers returning during lockdown, handling of the corona virus and ineffective management of the flood.

The real problem began when these three parties had to come together to contest state elections in November against the coalition of Congress and RJD. These parties were not almost coming to any conclusion regarding the seat sharing. There’s hardly any dispute between the BJP and JDU as both have decided to distribute all the 243 seats equally between them. But the JDU is adamant that the LJP’s share of seats will be from the BJP’s quota. 

LJP offered two options to the BJP. One, either they give them 42 seats in Bihar state elections or 32 seats with two Member of Legislative Council (MLC) seats and one Rajyasabha seat from Uttar Pradrsh.

However, the BJP was offering them 27 seats with two MLC seats. BJP didn’t make any mention of Rajyasabha seat. Chirag Paswan is seen as an ambitious leader who wants be Chief Minister of Bihar someday in future so, it’s reasonable that he will want the maximum number of seats.

BJP, on the other hand, is worried that if he concedes 42 or 32 seats from his quota of something around 122 seats then its own number of seats will be way below 100 then it will automatically become a junior or supporting party to JDU like Congress is to RJD which it will avoid at any cost. Another reason is that in 2015, JDU and BJP weren’t in any coalition so, BJP contested on 157 seats. The problem of BJP is that atleast those 157 candidates, if not more, will ask for the ticket and if BJP compromises to contest even less than 100 seats then it may be the cause of revolt within the party.

Today, BJP chief JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and BL Santosh met major political leaders of the Bihar. All the three parties have agreed to a seat sharing formula however, the exact number are not in the public domain. Moreover, it is reported that Jeetanram Manjhi’s party Hindustani Awaam Morcha (HAM) will also be a part of NDA and contest elections with the coalition of BJP, LJP and JDU. However, it will be interesting to see how the parties allot those seats to the candidates to avoid clashes between the members.

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