Upendra Kushwaha's exit from the NDA over seat sharing in Bihar for next year's general elections, has made other allies restive. The Lok Janashakti Party -- the other ally expected to bear the brunt of the BJP arrangement with Nitish Kumar for a 50:50 division of seats -- has issued a warning to the BJP. The timing, barely a week after the BJP reverses in the recent assembly elections, is crucial. Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal, the BJP's closest ally, has said the results indicate that no party will cross the 200 mark in Lok Sabha and it is the allies who would play a decisive role.
"We met the BJP leaders several times over the seat sharing for the alliance, but even now there has been no concrete decision. Unless these decisions are made in time, it could have consequences," LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag Paswan tweeted yesterday.
Another tweet said, "After TDP and RLSP quit, the NDA alliance is passing through a critical phase. At this point, the BJP should address the concerns of the remaining allies in a timely and proper fashion".
"A final decision on sharing of seats among the remaining allies must be arrived at by December 31," Pashupati Kumar Paras, the party's state president and younger brother of Ram Vilas Paswan, was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. Also, there was nop reason why the party should contest less than seven seats, he added.
Chirag Paswan's tweets have drawn the attention of Tejashwi Yadav and Upendra Kushwaha, who have invited him to join up. Mr Kushwaha said the time has come for him to show his worth by walking out of the alliance, as the BJP never cares for allies. Tejashwi Yadav said "Paswan-ji is most welcome in Mahagathbandhan fold".
The BJP has not put an official figure to the number of seats for any ally for next year's elections. But at a joint press conference with the Chief Minister, BJP chief Amit Shah said the two parties will have an equal share, while the smaller allies like LJP and Mr Kushwaha "will have a respectable share".
Sources had said both LJP and Mr Kushwaha's RLSP were expected to tighten their belts to accommodate Nitish Kumar - contesting fewer seats than they won in 2014. Mr Kushwaha, seen to be on the verge of a walkout for long, quit earlier this month.
Chirag Paswan has repeatedly indicated that he was upset that the BJP and Nitish Kumar repeatedly ignored him during the seat sharing talks and did not keep him in the loop.
In an interview with NDTV yesterday, Chirag Paswan said while Prime Minster Narendra Modi will get a second term in next year's national elections despite the recent setbacks, there is a need for a course correction in view of the over-emphasis on the temple issue, which is drowning out the message of development.
The 35-year-old leader has also criticized the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Congress's Kamal Nath, over his remark on "outsiders" taking away jobs from the people of Madhya Pradesh. "The way he (Kamal Nath) has spoken about Biharis and the people coming from UP is very derogatory and Rahul Gandhi needs to explain this," Mr Paswan said.
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