New Delhi, Sep 28: The seat-sharing exercise between ruling allies Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections is unlikely to be a smooth one.
A war of words between the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal and its ally Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party has been escalating as days of the election comes nearer.
The LJP has indicated that it would field candidates against the JD(U), leading to an uneasy situation within the NDA in Bihar.
The party said it will contest 143 seats, including those against ally Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), and demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lead the alliance in the state.
Though Amit Shah has announced that NDA would go to polls under the leadership of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Chirag Paswan is trying to stake a claim for a higher number of seats, which the JD(U) is opposed to.
Even as Paswan swears by his loyalty towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in whose cabinet his father and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan is a minister, he has often criticised the Nitish Kumar government.
Paswan has been attacking Nitish Kumar's leadership with issues like reverse migration, unemployment and the management of covid-19. LJP has also questioned if it is a good idea to hold assembly elections amid floods and the pandemic.
The BJP leadership is also understood to have assured Kumar that it will intervene and iron out the differences that have of late cropped up between the JD(U) and the LJP on account of the belligerent stance adopted by the latters young president Chirag Paswan.
To overcome the hurdle, the BJP is also trying to superimpose the Modi government's initiatives over the Nitish government's performance in the state.
Reportedly, former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) has also broken its alliance with the RJD, will join the NDA and take up some seats.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and the JD(U) fought 17 seats each, while their third ally, Lok Janshakti Party, contested the remaining six.
In 2015, the BJP had contested 157 seats, LJP 42 seats, RLSP 23 seats and HAM had got 21 seats. The NDA had not announced any chief ministerial candidate. While the BJP won just 53 seats, the LJP and the RLSP won two each while the HAM could win just one, as the 'Mahagathbandhan romped to power.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the JD(U) had contested alone and won only two seats, while the BJP, in an alliance with the RLSP and the LJP, won 31 out of 40 seats.
Voting for Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7 in one of the biggest elections globally during the pandemic, followed by counting of votes on November 10.