12 September, New Delhi
Much awaited announcement of National Democratic Alliance(NDA) about the seat sharing in Bihar elections skipped its stated deadline of 6:30 pm with leadership of allies continued to be locked in discussions late into the evening.
Sources said Jitan Ram Manjhi, the former Bihar Chief Minister and Founder of Hindustan Awam Morcha(HAM), had dug in his heals for a bigger share. Manjhi was missing in the picture in the early morning photo-op in which BJP president Amit Shah and Lok Janshakti Party(LJP) leaders Ram Vilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan had cheerily announced that the “alliance has overcome differences” and seat sharing formula will be out by evening.
Sources also said the offer of about 25 seats to Rashtriya Lok Samta Party(RLSP), with just three MPs in Lok Sabha, had riled Mr Manjhi who was apparently offered only about 15 seats.
The Mahadalit leader is said to have claimed that his party represents more number of assembly seats in Bihar than those by the RSLP — a breakaway outfit from the Janata Dal(United) which largely represents the Other Backward Class(OBC) voters in the state.
Manjhi is also said to be upset with the fact that a major share has been cornered by the LJP, a party which performed poorly in 2010 assembly elections, getting just 3 seats out of 75 contested.
However, LJP bounced back quickly in Lok Sabha elections in 2014 by winning 6 seats out of 7 contested. It is estimated that LJP has been offered 35 to 40 seats, RSLP 25 seats and HAM of Manjhi only about 15 seats. BJP, the largest constituent of the alliance, will keep 150-plus seats to itself.