The vexed issue of seat-sharing among the constituents of Bihar NDA is in the final stage of being resolved. The BJP, in its bid to placate LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, has offered the veteran parliamentarian to be sent to the Rajya Sabha from Assam.
Though after initial inhibitions, the LJP chief has eventually given his consent to be made a member of the Upper House from Assam, instead of contesting Lok Sabha polls from Bihar in 2019.
This is being done as Paswan’s LJP, which has six MPs from Bihar, will be given five seats (out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state) to contest during 2019 parliamentary elections.
“Paswan will be sent to the Rajya Sabha. And the LJP will be allotted five seats, instead of its six sitting MPs in Bihar,” a top BJP leader told DH.
The BJP, which formed its government in Assam, has told Paswan that former prime minister Manmohan Singh will be retiring as Rajya Sabha member in April 2019. “The Congress, with its depleted strength of 25 in the 126-member Assembly may not be able to re-nominate the former PM. In that case, Paswan ji, backed by the BJP, will be sent to Upper House from Assam,” the source said.
Paswan, who has won Lok Sabha elections from Bihar eight times since 1977 (when he won from Hajipur constituency with record margin), was initially averse to forego his parliamentary seat. But since he has undergone heart surgery in London in 2017, his family persuaded him to prefer Upper House than going through rigorous exercise of contesting Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
“Paswan was earlier also offered the Rajya Sabha seat from Bihar which is likely to fall vacant once the court decides Sharad Yadav’s pending case. But this may take time. Besides, since Sharad Yadav was made Rajya Sabha member in 2016, Paswan could, at best, continue to be RS member for the remaining period till 2022. While if he becomes a member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam in 2019, he will continue to be an MP till 2025,” the source told DH.
Paswan has reportedly given his consent to the BJP proposal. If the plan fructifies, then his son Chirag Paswan will contest from Hajipur, a fiefdom of Paswan, during 2019 Lok Sabha elections.