Bihar elections: Will fight polls together with NDA, JD(U), LJP, says BJP

Ticket seekers wait outside JD(U) office to meet Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections in Patna.
The BJP on Wednesday sought to scotch speculation about differences with Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, asserting that all the three National Democratic Alliance partners will fight Bihar assembly polls together.

After a long meeting of party leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah and president J P Nadda besides those from the state, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav told reporters that talks with allies on the seat-sharing arrangement will be completed in a couple of days. Yadav is the party's in-charge for the state's affairs.

"A lot of development work has happened in Bihar and the NDA will fight the polls on the basis of this under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The BJP, JD(U) and the LJP will fight the polls strongly along with Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has joined hands with JD(U), and will form government again with a three/fourth majority," he said.

Official sources said the final seat-sharing arrangement is likely to be announced soon and the list of candidates for the first phase of polls will be out by October 4 or 5.

The nomination process for the first phase, under which 71 of the total 243 seats will go to polls, begins on Thursday and ends on October 8.

The Chirag Paswan-headed LJP has indicated it will fight on 143 seats if it does not get a "honourable" deal from its allies. In 2015, it had contested 42 seats and won two. The JD(U) was then part of the opposition alliance which decisively defeated the NDA.

Chirag Paswan chaired a meeting of LJP leaders at his residence here on Wednesday over the polls.

The strained relations between the JD(U), headed by Kumar, and the LJP have put the alliance under pressure as BJP attempts to play a balancing role.

Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal and state Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi also attended the party meeting.

The Bihar assembly polls will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7, and the counting of votes will take place on November 10.

On Wednesday, the BJP appointed former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as its in-charge for the assembly elections, the party said in a statement.

Fadnavis and Yadav are heading to Bihar where they are expected to discuss poll strategy with party leaders and also with allies.

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