NEW DELHI: A seat-sharing arrangement between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections is likely to be announced on Saturday in a press briefing later in the day. As per the seat sharing formula decided by the NDA parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to get 18 seats, Janata Dal United (JDU) 17 and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) 5 seats.
The decision was finalised after LJP chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan along with his son Chirag Paswan met BJP leader Arun Jaitley. As per sources, other differences along with the seat-sharing arrangement issue between the two parties have been resolved. As per the agreed arrangement, Paswan is also likely to be given a berth in the Rajya Sabha.
BJP president Amit Shah had earlier announced that his party and its key ally JD(U), which is headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, will be contesting an equal number of seats in the politically crucial state where the BJP-led NDA had won 31 seats in 2014.
Jaitley is an old Bihar hand in the party with friendly relations with leaders of different parties. His intervention to resolve the differences with the LJP is a clear indication of the importance the BJP gives to Paswan's party which enjoys strong influence among Dalits.
Top BJP leaders, including its president Shah and Jaitley, had held an hour-long meeting with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Thursday to resolve their differences.
Chirag Paswan had earlier written a letter to Jaitley asking him to explain what benefits demonetisation brought to the country. He had also tweeted that a delay in seat-sharing announcement may harm the ruling alliance.
The LJP had been insisting that they should get seven seats, the same number on which they contested in 2014, along with seats in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, too.