New Delhi: Differences seem to be emerging
between NDA allies BJP and JD(U) in the run-up to the Bihar
assembly elections with the latter bargaining hard in sharing
of seats and indicating that it has reservations about a joint
campaign as well.
After much haggling, BJP had to bow to JD(U) and give up
its claim over Digha, a seat it had won by a formidable margin
in the last elections. JD(U) is fielding Poonam Devi from this
constituency much to the dismay of BJP state unit.
The JD(U) has also reportedly indicated that it has
reservations about campaigning jointly with some BJP leaders
as it may affect its "secular" image. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ravi
Shankar Prasad, who hails from Bihar, is one such leader on
this list as he was the advocate for Ram Lalla Virajman in the
Ayodhya title suit.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) President
Sharad Yadav have made public their campaign schedule of first
four days and no senior BJP leader from the Central unit will
campaign with them on these days.
However, BJP has denied there is a rift and said the two
allies will campaign jointly.
"There is no doubt that JD(U) and BJP will campaign
together," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Senior BJP leaders like Ananth Kumar, Sushma Swaraj,
Dharmendra Pradhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain,
Rajiv Pratap Rudy and others will campaign in Bihar from
Phase-I itself. BJP will kickstart its campaign on October 8.
Senior leader L K Advani will begin his campaign after
Dussehra, party sources said.
Meanwhile, BJP declared five more candidates today. They
are Mahendra Baita (Patepur-SC), Nitin Naveen (Bankipur),
Ramjanam Sharma (Bikram), Anand Bhushan Pandey (Bhabua) and
Virendra Singh (Wazirganj).
Candidates for three seats were declared yesterday. They
are Ramsurat Rai (Aurai), Veen Devi (Gaighat) and Amarnath
Of the 102 seats that BJP will contest, it is yet to
announce candidates for Brahmpur and Dehri.