New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) have taken the first steps to iron out differences within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar over seat sharing for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

The two parties have agreed to contest an equal number of seats in the polls.

Leaders of the two parties also emphasized that all partners of the four-member alliance in Bihar would contest the general elections together.

The number of seats to be contested by the remaining two partners—Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJSP) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP)—would be announced in the next few days, BJP chief Amit Shah said after meeting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at his residence in New Delhi on Friday.

“It has been decided that BJP and JD(U) will contest an equal number of seats for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 in Bihar. The other alliance partners would also get respectable seat shares. We will announce the numbers in a few days," said Shah.

Shah said both Kushwaha and Paswan will remain in the NDA and that the number of alliance partners in Bihar will remain four. “When a new ally has joined us, there will be a reduction in seat share for everyone. NDA will win a big majority in Bihar in the general elections," he said.

Kumar was adamant that the BJP declare the number of seats in advance so that there is clarity among partners on the number of seats each party would contest.

“Talks have happened and it has been decided that the JD(U) and BJP would contest equal number of seats in Bihar. The seat share of other alliance partners will be decided and a formal announcement on the number of seats would be made in the coming days," he said soon after the meeting.

The announcement is crucial as during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the JD(U) had contested the polls along with Communist Party of India (CPI) and won only two out of the 38 seats it had contested and lost deposits in 23 seats.

The BJP, on the other hand, won 22 out of the 40 seats in Bihar, with the NDA picking up 31 seats, which included LJSP’s six and three of the RLSP.

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