NDA seat-sharing in Bihar: BJP to contest 17, JD(U) 16, Chirag’s party 5; Paras left in cold

With BJP contesting one more seat than Nitish Kumar's party this year, it has now symbolically become the "big brother" in the alliance

The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on March 18 formally announced its seat-share formula in Bihar for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. As per the deal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest 17 seats, one more than Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United).

Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) will contest on 5 seats while and one each has been alloted to Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Morcha (RLM). Bihar sends a total of 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

With BJP contesting one more seat than Nitish Kumar’s party this year, it has now symbolically become the “big brother” in the alliance.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, both parties had contested on 17 seats apiece. Even in the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections, Nitish Kumar had managed to maintain the tilt towards his party, contesting on 115 seats and leaving 110 for the BJP.

However, the dynamic has changed in the last five years with an ageing Nitish Kumar’s alliance flip-flops eroding public trust.

The JD(U) conceded its Karakat seat to Kushwaha’s party, although it managed to get Sheohar from the BJP. Former RJD MP Lovely Anand, wife of ex-MP Anand Mohan, is likely to contest from Sheohar. Lovely and her son Chetan Anand – who was among three RJD MLAs to defect during Nitish’s trust vote – joined the JD(U) Monday.

HAM (S) chief and ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi would contest from the Gaya seat, which is currently represented by the JD (U)’s Vijay Kumar.

The LJP faction led by Pashupati Paras, Chirag Paswan’s uncle, has been left in cold. Paras, who is currently Hajipur MP, failed to get any seat for his National LJP faction from the BJP, which preferred Chirag over him in view of its assessment that the latter was the “real claimant” to his father late Ram Vilas Paswan’s legacy and would hold on to the Paswan vote. The community comprises 6 per cent of the voting population.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA, consisting of BJP, JDU ( (Janata Dal United), and LJP (Lok Janshakti Party), secured victory by taking lead on 39 out of 40 seats. Meanwhile, the Mahagathbandhan, led by RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal), INC (Indian National Congress), and RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samta Party), only managed to secure one seat.

The seat-sharing details were announced at the BJP’s Delhi headquarters by BJP national general secretary Vinod Tawde, who was flanked by deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Samrat Choudhary, JD(U) general secretary Sanjay Jha, Delhi chief of the LJP Raju Tiwari and HAM leader Rajneesh Kumar. RLM chief Upendra Kushwaha or any representative from that party was absent from the press meet ostensibly because “no one was in Delhi” at the time of announcement.

BJP will be fighting West Champaran, East Champaran, Aurangabad, Madhubani, Araria, Darbhanga, Muzzafarpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Ujiarpur, Begusarai, Nawada, Patna Sahib, Patiliputra, Ara, Buxar and Sasaram.

The JD(U) will fight on Valmikinagar, Sitamarhi, Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Madhepura, Gopalganj, Siwan, Bhagalpur, Banka, Munger, Nalanda, Jehanabad and Sheohar. The five seats to be contested by LJP (Ram Vilas) are Vaishali, Hajipur, Samastipur, Khagaria and Jamui. HAM to contest Gaya and RLM from Karakat,” said Mr Tawde. He added that the alliance was poised to “sweep all 40 seats.”

Lok Sabha elections in Bihar will be held in seven phases. Four seats will go to the polls on April 19, five each on April 26, May 7, May 13 and May 20, and eight each on May 25 and June 1. The counting of votes will be held on June 4, 2024.

Phase 1 (April 19): Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui
Phase 2 (April 26): Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur, Banka
Phase 3 (May 7): Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura, Khagaria
Phase 4 (May 13): Darbhanga, Ujiarpur, Samastipur, Begusarai, Munger
Phase 5 (May 20): Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Saran, Hajipur
Phase 6 (May 25): Valmiki Nagar, Paschim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Gopalganj, Siwan, Maharajganj
Phase 7 (June 1): Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Arrah, Buxar, Sasaram, Karakat, Jehanabad

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