Hours after the BJP announced its seat sharing formula in Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and former ally Upendra Kushwaha on Sunday said the saffron’s party decision to cut down on the number of seats it contested in the last general elections underscored the party’s lack of confidence.
Addressing a press conference, Yadav said despite BJP winning 22 of the 30 Lok Sabha seats it contested in 2014, the party agreed to give an equal number of seats to Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), who had returned with a tally of only two seats. “Now you can understand the dire straits the NDA is in,” he said.
Following protracted seat-sharing talks in Bihar during which it lost its ally RLSP to the Grand Alliance, BJP chief Amit Shah announced that the saffron party and the JD(U) would contest on 17 seats each, while Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will fight on the remaining six.
Implicitly claiming that the BJP gave in to the arm-twisting tactics of Nitish Kumar and Paswan, Yadav said LJP and JD(U) reaped the benefits of questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation. The remark was in a reference to Chirag Paswan recently writing to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and requesting him to elucidate the benefits of demonetisation so that his party could explain the same to its voters.
Kushwaha too seconded the RJD leader and said the ones boasting of a 56-inch chest blinked in front of the Bihar CM and acceded to his demand of diving the seats equally. “The BJP people used to talk a lot about the 56-inch chest, so the ones with 56-inch chest bowed down in front of Nitish Kumar, and divided the seats equally. Who wants to contest on how many seats are not the public’s concern,” ANI quoted the RLSP chief as saying.
The Mahagathbandhan in Bihar received a shot in the arm on Sunday after EBC community leader Mukesh Sahni joined the alliance in the presence of Yadav and Kushwaha. “I would like to welcome Mukesh Sahni ji, son of Mallah, to our grand alliance, and I believe that him joining the grand alliance will strengthen it,” he said.
Sahni, who recently floated the Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP), is the national president of Nishaad Vikas Sangh, an organisation comprising the EBC community of Nishaads, who are fishermen by profession. Nishaad’s constitute about 14 per cent of Bihar’s population and play an influential role in government formation.