NDA’s seat-sharing deadlock continues as Manjhi demands more

New Delhi  (IANS) The NDA’s seat-sharing agreement for the upcoming Bihar polls could not be finalised on Sunday as the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) stuck to its demand for more seats even after the BJP held another round of negotiations with its leader Jitan Ram Manjhi on the issue, sources said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders continued to hold discussions with Manjhi’s HAM through the day on Sunday to reach a consensus over some seats.

Union minister Ananth Kumar who is also election in-charge for the Bihar polls met the former Bihar chief minister and discussed the issue.

His ministerial colleague Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP’s state party affairs in-charge Bhupendra Yadav also met Manjhi to bring him onboard on the seat-sharing formula.

Later, Ananth Kumar, Yadav and Pradhan held a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah in this regard.

The BJP has already resolved the issue with its two other allies — the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha.

The party seemed to have worked out a formula under which it would contest 162 of the total 243 assembly seats, leaving 41 for the LJP, 25 for the RLSP and 15 for HAM.

Sources said the BJP had also been decided that five HAM candidates would contest on BJP’s symbol as a compromise formula.

According to sources, Manjhi expressed his displeasure on being offered only 15 seats.

Sources in the HAM told IANS that party will not agree to less than 10 percent of the total seats for it (24).

Earlier, Manjhi had demanded seats equal to those offered to Paswan’s party.

However, on Sunday afternoon, Manjhi tried to played down differences after meeting BJP leaders, saying he was not upset.

Meanwhile, the BJP has convened a meeting of its central election committee here on September 15 to finalise the names of the candidates.

A meeting of Bihar BJP leaders also took place at Patna to discuss candidates.

Polls to the Bihar assembly will be held in five phases starting on October 12 and ending on November 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

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