Announcement of seat-sharing between BJP, JD-U soon



New Delhi: Seat-sharing talks between BJP and Janta Dal (United) for Bihar assembly elections has been nearly finalised and a formal announcement is likely in a day or two.

"Elections are round the corner in Bihar. Talks are in progress between the two parties in matter of seat sharing and a broad agreement has been reached. It has been discussed today and a decision is expected tomorrow. An announcement is likely in a day or two," JD-U chief Sharad Yadav told reporters at a press conference.

In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, the ruling parties JD-U and BJP have 81 and 54 seats respectively. RJD is the second largest party with 56 seats. Ramvilas Paswan-led LJP has 12 seats and Congress has 10.

JD-U had contested 138 seats in the last assembly election in October 2005, leaving 103 for BJP. The two parties had friendly contest on two seats.

Asked what number of seats each party would contest, Yadav said the "old arrangement would continue" but added that there will be swapping of few seats held by each party keeping in mind winnability profile of the candidates in a particular constituency.

Sources in the party said the seat-sharing talks between the two parties are being held at the level of state leadership at present after which the central leaders will together make the announcement.

There were strains in the relationship between the two parties recently over the issue of Narendra Modi campaigning in Bihar elections with BJP making a flip flop over the issue and a JDU MP demanding reconsideration of the alliance.

Earlier in June also the parties have sparred over posters of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar holding hands being put up in Patna during BJP's national executive after which an angry Kumar had returned the flood relief money given by Gujarat.

Yadav, however, downplayed talks of differences between the two parties saying these issue have come to an end.

Yadav, who is also the convener of BJP-led NDA, issued an appeal to the people to respect "whatever verdict the court" gives on Ayodhya issue and urged them to "oppose all those who create troubles" on the issue.

Asked whether he is sure that VHP and Bajrang Dal will not create troubles if the court judgement does not go as per their wish, Yadav said, "whoever they are. I do not want to take names but it is not proper to create tension in the society on this issue."

Asked about the VHP-sponsored Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas' demand for a legislation to resolve the issue and build a temple at the site, Yadav said, "JD-U believes that a solution to the issue can come only either through mutual understanding or a court verdict. We do not support any other way except these two."

On Kashmir, he said the killing of youths in the Valley in police firing is a matter of concern and appealed to the people of the state to seek a solution to the problem through dialogues.

"The entire country shares their concern and is committed to solve their problems. A way out will come only through talks," Yadav said, adding he is already in touch with people of the state and had discussions the issue with former state Chief Minister and PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Former MP and party general secretary K C Tyagi will represent JD-U in the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir.

Yadav was talking to reporters after inaugurating a new version of his party's website ahead of the Bihar assembly polls.

Party leaders said the website will enable them to remain in touch with people round-the-clock in the crucial election months so that they can act and interact on key issues.

PTI