New Delhi: Signs of a crisis in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are emanating from Bihar, with most of the allies, led by Janata Dal (United) and chief minister Nitish Kumar, joining hands against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to demand a greater share of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Nitish Kumar held a meeting of senior JD(U) leaders in Patna on Sunday to discuss the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha polls.

“Nitish Kumar had reached out to Union minister Upendra Kushwaha a few days ago and the two leaders had a detailed conversation about the functioning of the NDA and how the BJP is not giving importance to its allies in Bihar," said a senior JD(U) leader based in Patna, on condition of anonymity.

“All three allies, Nitish Kumar, Upendra Kushwaha and Ram Vilas Paswan are together and want more importance (for their parties) in the state," said the JD(U) leader quoted above.

Kushwaha is the chief of the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party or RLSP while Union minister Paswan is the chief of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).

The simmering tension in the NDA’s Bihar unit led Paswan to support the demand of special status for Bihar, which was originally raised by Nitish Kumar, according to senior JD(U) leaders.

“There are only 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, out of which the BJP had won 22 seats in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Thus, it is for the BJP to accommodate its alliance partners. The NDA alliance partners feel left out because of the lack of consultations between the parties," said the JD(U) leader.

During the 2014 general elections, the NDA had won 31 out of the 40 seats in the state, while Nitish Kumar, who had left the NDA before the elections, could manage to win only two seats.

“It is a matter political survival for Nitish Kumar because JD(U) had only managed to get two seats in the 2014 general elections and the party will have to drive a hard bargain with the BJP leadership," said the JD(U) leader.

The JD(U) has decided to contest at least 25 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, but the party leadership is prepared to negotiate if Nitish Kumar remains the face of the NDA in Bihar, said senior leaders of the party.

“If JD(U) contests less seats, not only will it lose its dominance in the state, but also the BJP would become the larger partner in Bihar. We want the JD(U) to remain the larger partner as has always been the case with Nitish Kumar as the undisputed leader of NDA in Bihar," the JD(U) leader said.

An NDA leader indicated that Paswan with his six Lok Sabha seats and Kushwaha, who had won three Lok Sabha seats, do not want to give up their seats and instead want the BJP to reduce its number of seats to accommodate the demands of the JD(U).

“The BJP returned to power in Bihar because of the JD(U) and we even have more seats in the assembly than the BJP so the JD(U) automatically is the senior partner in the state," said the JD(U) leader.

BJP leaders, however, maintain that there is no problem between the allies in Bihar as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the leader of the country while Nitish Kumar is the leader of the state.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the leader of the country and Nitish Kumar is the leader of Bihar. The voters of Bihar will vote for Prime Minister Modi and Nitish Kumar. There is no dispute. There is no controversy. We will sit and discuss which party will contest how many seats," said Sushil Modi, deputy chief minister of Bihar.

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