Patna, October 22: Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar has pitched for a new pre-poll deal with senior ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. After days of ambiguity, Kumar was called for a meeting in Delhi by BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the closed-door meeting, reports claimed, the pact was finalised.
As per the details of the seat-sharing arrangement accessed by NDTV, the BJP would contest on 17 out of the 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar, whereas, the JD(U) would field its candidates on 16. Out of the remaining 7 seats, 5 would be allotted to Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, whereas, the remaining two would be assigned to Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP. Nitish Kumar Reaffirms JD(U)-BJP Alliance Moving Into 2019 Lok Sabha Polls.
JD(U) sources in Patna claimed that a formal announcement on seat-sharing would be made this week, adding that pact discussed by Kumar, Shah and Modi would be officially finalised.
Senior BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav, however, dismissed the speculations saying that "nothing is final". A section within the party is reportedly irked over contesting on less than 22 seats -- which the party currently represents in the Lok Sabha.
On the other hand, Nitish Kumar's party was reduced to 2 seats in 2014, when it had contested independently after breaking the 18-year-old alliance with the BJP.
Kumar, however, made a return to the NDA-fold after walking out of the mahagathbandhan in July 2017, citing the alleged involvement in corruption cases of Tejashwi Yadav, the then deputy CM and son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav.