Seat-sharing to be a thorny affair in poll-bound Bihar

Last Updated: Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 15:31

Patna: With Bihar Assembly elections fast approaching, ruling NDA partners and Opposition RJD-LJP alliance are likely to find the issue of seat-sharing a thorny
affair with major partners eyeing the lion`s share.

Other parties like the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party have decided to go it alone in all the 243 seats.

The Samajwadi Party and Left parties -- CPI-ML(L), CPI, and CPI-M -- are yet to decide the number of seats they would contest either alone or in alliance.

Given the high political stakes, coalition partners JD(U) and BJP are treading cautiously on the crucial issue of seat-sharing.

Snubbed by senior partner and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after his photograph appeared with his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi in an advertisement in June, the BJP leadership is grappling with internal party squabbles.

The BJP is also under fire from workers with the reported bid by JD(U) to contest more seats than it had contested in 2005. JD(U) had contested 138 seats last time, leaving 103
seats to BJP. In the remaining two seats, they had a friendly fight.

"We will not concede any seat to the JD(U)," state BJP president CP Thakur said.

There are also hitches on seats in Seemanchal, where the JD(U) is keen to field more candidates, buoyed by the entry of Md Taslimuddin, who has some influence over voters,
particularly among Muslims in Kishanganj, Araria and Katihar.

In north and central Bihar, the JD(U) leaders feel the party should claim more because of its increased vote share among the extremely backward castes and mahadalits.

In the opposition RJD-LJP camp, the scene is getting murkier with each passing day with Ram Vilas Paswan`s party reportedly demanding 106 seats including the 50 which RJD had given to Congress in 2005.

RJD has not officially reacted to the LJP`s demand, though its poll managers find it "thoroughly unreasonable".

A senior RJD leader said the party has offered 60 seats to LJP which include around 40 seats won by Paswan`s party and those where it stood second last time.

State LJP president Pashupati Kumar Paras, who held several rounds of talks with the RJD leaders, said there are some problems and he has referred the matter to Paswan.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad said his party will accord top priority to the winnability of candidates, instead of sharing seats "blindly".

The CPI-ML(Liberation) has decided to go it alone and contest at least 130 seats in the absence of a Left alliance.


First Published: Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 15:31

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