Shatrughan Sinha, Kirti Azad may not get tickets

2019 polls: BJP moots 20:20 formula for seat sharing in Bihar

The BJP top leadership is believed to be working overtime to thrash out the contentious issue of seat sharing for Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats.

Though there has been no official announcement on the issue, those who are well aware of the developments told DH that the saffron camp mooted a 20:20 formula where the BJP would contest 20 Lok Sabha seats while its alliance partners – the JD(U), the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) – would contest the remaining 20 seats.

The JD(U) is likely to get 12 seats, the LJP five and Kushwaha’s outfit two seats. One seat will be left for rebel RLSP MP from Jehanabad Arun Kumar.

Sources said the formula, if agreed upon, will see a climbdown by all the parties concerned.

“If Kushwaha remains with the NDA, he will get two seats. If he deserts NDA and joins the RJD-led 'Mahagatbandhan', the quota of his two seats will be divided between the BJP and the JD(U),” the source, preferring anonymity, said.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the NDA won 31 seats in Bihar. This included the BJP’s 22 seats, LJP six and the RLSP three. One RLSP MP later raised a banner of revolt against Kushwaha and is now a separate entity within the NDA.

It is pertinent to mention here that when Nitish was not part of the NDA during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP contested on 30 seats while the LJP and the RLSP contested on seven and three seats, respectively.

While Paswan's party won six seats, the RLSP won in all the three constituencies. The BJP romped home on 22 seats but Nitish's JD(U) contested on its own and scraped through on merely two seats.

Going by the formula suggested for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP will make a climbdown by contesting only 20 seats though it has 22 sitting MPs from Bihar.

Similarly, the LJP will get only five constituencies, though it has six sitting MPs. One LJP MP, Rama Singh from Vaishali, is most likely to be denied party ticket due to his controversial past which has brought disrepute to the LJP in general and the NDA in particular.

Big losers

But the most significant development could be in the BJP itself where it is mulling over a proposal to deny tickets to six sitting MPs. This includes Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav (Madhubani), Shatrughan Sinha (Patna Sahib), Kirti Azad (Darbhanga), Bhola Singh (Begusarai), Rama Devi (Sheohar) and Satish Dubey (Valmikinagar).

“The seat-sharing pact will be arrived at by the top leadership of the NDA partners. Till now there is no such official announcement. When we will get an official confirmation about it, we will respond accordingly,” said JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.

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