Bihar, (PTI): An announcement is likely to be made today as BJP and its allies including Manjhi’s party reached an agreement on the seat sharing deal for upcoming Bihar elections.
Manjhi, who met BJP leaders in Delhi today, sounded confident after the talks. “There is no confusion, everything is sorted and we may make an announcement today itself,” he said.
After the late night confabulation, a HAM(S) leader claimed under the arrangement worked out at the meeting the party would get to field about 20 candidates, while five others would contest on BJP’s symbol.
Meanwhile, BJP’s Central Election Committee is likely to meet on Tuesday to decide on its candidates for the elections. Manjhi and his aides held a series of meetings with BJP leaders including Kumar, Yadav and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan through the day.
Manjhi’s associates had yesterday threatened to reconsider continuing in the alliance if a “respectable” offer was not made after BJP agreed to spare 13-15 seats for them.
BJP sources said a Central Election Committee meeting was likely to be held on September 15 as BJP is keen on announcing the names of its nominees at least for seats which go to polls in the first few phases. The five-phase polling for the 243-member assembly begins from October 12 and concludes on November 5.
A final announcement on the seat sharing arrangement between BJP and its three allies– Ram Vilas Paswan’ LJP, Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP and Manjhi’s HAM(S)– has been held up after Manjhi played hardball.
Though BJP has a strong Dalit ally in Paswan, it wants Manjhi on its side in the high-stakes state elections to bring in the Mahadalit votes. BJP president Amit Shah, party sources said, cancelled his Mysore visit on Sunday to oversee the negotiations.
Manjhi was said to be unhappy after he was offered 13-15 seats by the BJP and sought to draw a parity with Paswan’s LJP, which was tipped to get around 40 seats. Those privy to the talks said BJP wanted to contest around 160 of the state’s 243 seats, leaving 25 for RLSP.
LJP and RLSP have agreed to the seat-sharing formula brought forth by BJP but a final announcement has been delayed due Manjhi’s disagreement with it, sources said.