BJP, JD(U) to Contest Equal Number of Seats in Bihar in 2019 Lok Sabha Polls

New Delhi: After months of speculation, BJP president Amit Shah on Friday announced that the party has reached a seat sharing deal with Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal (United) in Bihar for the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Although the BJP chief did not announce the distribution of seats, he said the two parties would contest the polls from equal number of seats. The exact number, he said, would be revealed after two or three days.

The announcement came after the Bihar chief minister met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah at each of their residences in the capital for more than an hour.

Sources tell News18 that both BJP and JD(U) would contest from 17 seats each out of the 40 on offer, leaving eight for the two other NDA allies in the state. While four seats are expected to go to Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP would contest from the remaining two.

“Upendra Kushwaha and Ram Vilas Paswan will remain with us. When a new ally has joined us, there will be a reduction in seat share for everyone,” Shah told reporters.

News18 had reported on Tuesday that JD(U) had negotiated a ‘good deal’ with the BJP on the seat sharing agreement, as it has managed to get the saffron party to climb down from its earlier taken position of “big brother” in the state.

The agreement is being seen as a political victory for the JD(U) as BJP had won 22 out of 29 seats it had contested from the state in 2014 while Kumar, on the other hand, had little bargaining power after he walked out of the grand alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress last year.

Analysts say that credit for bringing the two parties to a compromise primarily goes to poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who had joined Nitish Kumar’s party last month and had taken a lead in backroom talks with the BJP top brass.

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