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Janta Dal United National President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with BJP senior leader and Dy CM Sushil Kumar Modi during a press conference ahead of Bihar Assembly election, in Patna (PTI)
Janta Dal United National President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with BJP senior leader and Dy CM Sushil Kumar Modi during a press conference ahead of Bihar Assembly election, in Patna (PTI)

BJP-JD(U) lock seat sharing, Nitish Kumar to be alliance’s leader in Bihar

Announcing the seat sharing arrangement before the assembly elections, it was decided that the BJP would contest on 121 seats while JD(U) would contest on 122 seats

Ending all speculation about the leadership crisis in National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of assembly polls in Bihar, the ruling alliance made it clear on Tuesday that chief minister Nitish Kumar is the leader of the alliance in the state and he will be the chief ministerial candidate once again.

Announcing the seat sharing arrangement before the assembly elections, it was decided that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would contest 121 seats while Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) would contest 122 seats in the 243 member assembly.

“Nitish Kumar has been named the leader of NDA in Bihar and he will be the chief minister when NDA gets three-fourth majority in the assembly after the elections. All speculation should end. It is clear that those who accept Nitish Kumar as the leader of NDA are part of the alliance," said Sanjay Jaiswal, president of BJP’s Bihar unit.

BJP leaders also clarified that while Ram Vilas Paswan, senior leader of Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJSP), would continue to be a member of the council of minister under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but if there is a need BJP leaders would inform Election Commission that only those political parties that are part of NDA in Bihar would only be authorised to use the photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during campaigning.

“There are four parties that are part of NDA in Bihar and if there is a need that we will inform Election Commission that parties that form NDA should only be authorised to use the photo of PM Modi otherwise EC would be free to take action. The alliance between BJP-JDU is unbreakable and we have already announced that Nitish Kumar will be the chief minister," said Sushil Modi, deputy chief minister of Bihar.

Speaking to reporters in the joint press conference, Kumar said that the division of who will contest which seat too has taken place and details would be announced soon. Out of JDU’s share of seats, seven seats would go to former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi led Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) while BJP would give a section of its seats to Mukesh Sahani led Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) which they are currently in talks over.

“We are working together with Bihar's development in mind. We have been working for 15 years in service of the people but what was done by people before that, in the 15 years before that?," Kumar said in a veiled attack on former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

When asked about recent statements by Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan, who announced on Sunday his party would contest outside the fold of NDA, attacking the chief minister’s governance record, Kumar said that leaders of all three parties including LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan have been together in elections in the past. Kumar however also quipped that the Rajya Sabha seat of union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who is currently ailing and in hospital, too was backed by JDU.

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