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Bihar polls: 'Shocked' but not 'unhappy' with seat sharing deal, says LJP

New Delhi: Sulking over the seat sharing formula for NDA allies announced yesterday for the Bihar polls, LJP today called truce after back to back meetings with top BJP leaders but insisted "there is no
India TV News Desk September 18, 2015 18:58 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Sulking over the seat sharing formula for NDA allies announced yesterday for the Bihar polls, LJP today called truce after back to back meetings with top BJP leaders but insisted "there is no smoke without fire".

"There was no anger but discontent as there was a difference between the seat sharing formula we were told about earlier and what was announced yesterday. So we were taken aback. We were not angry but definitely there were concerns in the party. We were shocked. There is no smoke without fire," LJP Parliamentary Board Chairman Chirag Paswan told a press conference.

Chirag, a Lok Sabha MP and son of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who had a midnight meeting with Amit Shah late last night to iron out the differences, said the BJP chief told him there are certain "complusions in caolition dharma" and that he will try to accommodate the concerns of the LJP "as much as possible".

Read Also: Manjhi 'fully satisfied' with 20 seats, calls truce with Paswan

"We have apprised the BJP chief about about our concerns. We are happy that our concerns have been honoured and we are moving towards a solution," Chirag said.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also called on the LJP chief in the morning after which he downplayed the reports of continued differences, saying NDA accords due respect to suggestions of Paswan.

"Ram Vilas Paswan ji a leader of stature," he said, recalling that leaders of all NDA allies had yesterday said they would work together to ensure the victory of the ruling alliance in Bihar assembly polls.

"There was no such demand (about more seats)....Nobody said any such thing (when Shah announced the seat sharing pact)," he said when asked whether the LJP was angry as it wanted more seats.

Ram Vilas Paswan refused to speak on the issue, saying he does not talk to the media about such things and left it to his son to clear the air.

LJP sources said there was a feeling in the party that Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and RLSP of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha got a "better deal" which was disproportionate to their political clout in the state.

Insisting that the alliance is intact, Chirag said his party has nothing against Kushwaha's RLSP or Manjhi's HAM getting more seats and described them as "family".

"There is no reason--number of seats or anything else--due to which LJP would part ways with the BJP. There is no question of any dispute with Manjhi ji as his party cannot be given seats under any formula as he had neither contested Lok Sabha nor state Assemly polls in past. We are happy with whatever seats he has got. Our concern was that LJP should also have got seats on the basis of the formula under which RLSP got 23 seats," he said.

At the same time, Chirag said LJP is "not unhappy" even with Kushwaha getting 23 seats. He recalled even after the seat sharing arrangement had been announced Shah called up the LJP chief as he also felt there could be some issues which may require one or two rounds of consultations before they are sorted out.

Maintaining that Shah is very senior to him in age and experience and not someone with whom he should have engaged in arguments, the LJP leader thanked him for calling and showing affection.

"After meeting him and his assurance, we do not have time to drag on and damage the alliance. Pradhanji also talked to us last night and today and heard our issues with seriousness. Our concerns have been given due honour and we are moving towards a solution," he said, but declined to divulge whether it meant that the LJP could be given some additional seats.

"I will not comment on it but Amit Shah ji called me and gave me an assurance. That is a big thing for me," he said.

He also replied in the negative when asked whether some of the LJP candidates could be fielded on BJP tickets as is being done in the case of Manjhi's HAM.

Asked whether LJP was not informed beforehand about the apportionment of seats ahead of the announcement yesterday, he said,"No we were not informed. But we had not even asked for it."

When asked why he had to rush to the BJP chief's residence for a meeting at midnight when there was no big issue, he admitted there was "some truth" in the news about LJP's unhappiness as there is "no smoke without fire".

"The number of seats was not a concern for LJP. Concern was that LJP should have been given seats on the basis on which others were given. But we have always respected coalition dharma. Our alliance is intact and we will together win Bihar polls," he asserted.

LJP sources had earlier said that before HAM joined the NDA, the proposal from BJP was that it would contest 75 per cent of the state's 243 assembly seats and the rest would go to LJP and RLSP.