PATNA: Amid muscle-flexing among the NDA constituents in Bihar over seat-sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, JD(U) has shown reluctance in accepting the formula based on the results of 2014 general elections.
JD(U), which had walked out of the NDA in 2013, contested 31 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and won only two against 22 by BJP. But the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U), in alliance with RJD and Congress, won 71 seats against 53 by the BJP in the 2015 assembly elections.
“The 2019 general elections will not be the same as 2014. The ‘Modi wave’ of 2014 is no longer there. The aspirations and expectations of people have not been met. There is frustration among people,” a senior JD(U) functionary told TOI, wishing anonymity.
“If BJP and LJP are vouching for seat-sharing formula on the performance in 2014 elections, they should also consider the performance in 2015 assembly elections,” he added.
JD(U) and BJP contested the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections on 26-14 and 25-15 seats respectively. This time also, JD(U) is keen on playing the “big brother” role.
“NDA should take the advantage of Nitish’s popularity and his good governance in Bihar. It was, in fact, Nitish’s face that the Grand Alliance performed so well in 2015 assembly elections. As far as seat-sharing is concerned, we hope all the NDA constituents will sort it out on consensus at the earliest,” JD(U) secretary general KC Tyagi said.
JD(U), in fact, has started exercising pressure tactics to get a better bargain from BJP. After JD(U) core committee meeting at CM Nitish’s residence on June 3, senior party functionary Pawan Varma declared Nitish to be the face of NDA in Bihar in the next Lok Sabha elections. His voice got support from BJP leaders like deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and LJP chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, among others.
Nitish also reiterated his demand for special status to Bihar at the 15th Finance Commission meeting held recently. What is being considered as his pressure tactics on BJP, Nitish recently claimed people did not benefit from demonetisation, the decision he had earlier supported wholeheartedly.
JD(U) members, however, admit that the JD(U)-BJP 25-15 seat-sharing formula was not feasible this time. “NDA in Bihar comprised only BJP and JD(U) in 2009. Now, there are more constituents like LJP and RLSP. Thus, a fresh formula needs to be worked out. JD(U) has always shown a big heart, so it will not be rigid on 25 seats. But, yes, the numbers would be anywhere above 10 seats,” JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok said.