New Delhi : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was taken for a ride in accepting BJP President Amit Shah’s 20:20 formula for sharing of seats in Bihar in the Lok Sabha elections on getting the details of the deal after he got after Shah’s return from Patna early this week.

Instead of his Janata Dal(U) getting the major share of 20 seats out of total 40 in the state to contest, all that it got is just 12 seats as Nitish was told to let two other regional parties get eight from the pie of 20 seats agreed for the JD(U).

Nitish wanted the JD(U) to contest the maximum seats in the state by virtue of it being in power and JD(U) had contested on 26 seats in the alliance with the BJP in 2009. Amit Shah, however, vetoed his demand by pointing out that the BJP had last time won 22 seats and offered to field two less candidates this time for the sake of their alliance.

Details of the deal, however, stumped Nitish as the JD(U) will have to yield five seats to the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of union minister Ramvilas Paswan and three to Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) of another minister Upendra Kushwaha. The BJP’s big brother attitude in suggesting that RLSP’s quota could be reduced to just two if Paswan insists on six seats.

Kushwaha is fuming and even threatening to end the relationship with the BJP, but the BJP leaders here say they are not worried as his exit from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will only mean the BJP, JD(U) and LJP have one more seat each to contest.

Shah had refused to yield majority of the seats to JD(U) on the ground that it had won just two seats in 2014 as against 20 in the 2009 elections after parting company with the BJP. Kushwaha is making noise over the BJP overriding on the smaller allies while Nitish has not spoken so far as his party sources said he would at appropriate time to show whom commands more clout in Bihar.

Nitish Kumar is ambitious of playing an important role in the national politics if the BJP”s strength is reduced in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and hence his next move will be closely watched.

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