The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may begin seat-sharing talks with allies in poll-bound Bihar after its two-day state executive committee meeting that begins on Saturday.
J P Nadda, the party chief, and BJP’s Bihar election in-charge, Devendra Fadnavis, and state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav will hold talks with chief minister Nitish Kumar and other top leaders of his Janata Dal (United), or JDU, in Patna next week.
A BJP leader said with elections likely to be announced in mid-September, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will have to sort out the alliance issues and decide the seats to be contested by each party as soon as possible. He said it was particularly important because of disagreements between the JD (U) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the other NDA constituent.
The seat-sharing will be discussed at the state executive committee meeting. “This is an important meeting which will begin with the address of Fadnavis. A political resolution will be passed on the first day and party national president [Nadda] will address the meeting on the concluding day,” said state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal. “The meeting will plan the strategy for the assembly polls besides expanding the party’s organization.”
People aware of the matter said two to three formulas were under consideration. BJP leaders believe that after distributing seats among allies, the BJP and JD (U) should get theirs on the 50-50 basis as was the case during the 2019 national polls. “HAM-S [Hindustani Awam Morcha], which is likely to align with the JD (U), is likely to get seven seats… it will leave 115 seats for the JD (U). The BJP has been asked to adjust LJP from its quota and it is demanding no less than 42 seats,” said a person on condition of anonymity.
The assembly elections in Bihar are due in October-November.
The Election Commission on Friday released a set of broad guidelines for holding elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic. HT reported on Wednesday that the poll watchdog was finalising the guidelines to hold the first set of elections, especially in Bihar, after the pandemic disrupted electoral processes.
The elections in Bihar are crucial to the BJP after it lost power in Maharashtra, and Jharkhand last year despite forming the government at the Centre with a bigger majority.