In NDA: Its JD(U) vs. RLSP

Shams Khan

Amid repeated claims of 'respectful' seat sharing arrangement between JDU and BJP, deadlock continues in Bihar NDA. The alliance smaller constituent RLSP, after training its guns on CM Nitish kumar on various occasions and avoiding any direct conflict with BJP, has now began targeting the saffron party itself.

Speculations that RLSP will be offered 1 seat--from 3 last time--has forced the party to come out strongly against the BJP. An RLSP insider argues that the party won all 3 seats that it fought in 2014, so on what basis its share of seats could be reduced.

Reports suggest that JDU is not at all interested in giving Upendra Kushwah’s party even a single seat. Aware of JDU's stiff opposition, RLSP recently hit back and blamed the 'big brother' sensitivity of Nitish kumar's party for delay in seat sharing.

An Independent analyst wonders as to why BJP is giving so much importance to Nitish Kumar when he is hardly a match winner and no more a trustworthy ally. "Sacrificing Upendra kushwaha and virtually pushing him into grand alliance fold may prove very dear to NDA in the state" said the analyst. He further suspects that next time Nitish may try to marginalise LJP. "It seems that loyalty is not rewarded in BJP", he added.

Meanwhile, the sources within the BJP and JDU continue to give conflicting signals. On one hand JDU insiders claim that they are pitching for at least seventeen seats and anything less than that would not be acceptable to the party. On the other hand, BJP’s state leaders have consistently given their nod to 20-20 deal speculation. The 20-20 formula suggests that BJP would fight on twenty seats while the remaining twenty would be distributed among its allies.

Notwithstanding the hard ball JDU is playing for the additional seats, arranging as many suitable candidates would be a daunting task for the party. An observer has pointed out that there is huge dearth of winnable candidate in JDU. “The two sitting Loksabha MPs Santosh Kushwaha and Kaushlendra Kumar are themselves politically lightweight. Leaders such as as Sharad Yadav, Uday Narayan Chaudhry, and Ali Anwar who have some hold have all deserted the party in recent days.” It remains to be seen how JDU cope up with this challenge.



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