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Bihar Election 2015: Allies pose threat to BJP’s ‘Mission 185-plus’ in Bihar assembly polls,Bihar assembly polls, Bihar Election 2015

Bihar Election 2015: Allies pose threat to BJP’s ‘Mission 185-plus’ in Bihar assembly polls

Bihar Election 2015The Election Commission’s indication that the Bihar assembly polls could be held in September or October seems to have put the cohesion of the National Democratic Alliance in the state under strain. The first hint that the allies of Bharatiya Janata Party could be on a collision course with the saffron party's “Mission 185-plus” target in Bihar came on Wednesday from Ramvilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party.

“We have not yet decided on the number of seats our party will contest,” Paswan said at a press conference in Patna. He said that his son, Chirag Paswan, the Lok Janshakti Party's parliamentary committee president, has been put in charge of that decision. But he dropped a subtle hint about the number of constituencies in which he would be looking to field party’s candidates.

“Chirag has already held public meetings in 62 constituencies of Bihar," he said. "Thirty to forty thousand people attended each of these meetings.” The Bihar assembly has a toal of 243 seats.

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Asked whether the Lok Janshakti Party would stake its claim to these constituencies, Paswan said he would take a call once the election dates are announced.

Though Paswan insisted that there won’t be any bickering in the NDA about seat-sharing, officials confirmed that the Lok Janshakti Party has already identified 62 assembly constituencies for itself. Wednesday’s press conference was a reflection of Paswan's ambition to remain a prominent member of the BJP-led alliance in Bihar, these officials added.

BJP president Amit Shah has already announced that the party aims to capture more than 185 seats in the 243-member assembly.  “The Bihar electorate has already reposed faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi by giving the BJP-led NDA 31 of the 40 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls," Shah told a rally in Patna on January 23. "The BJP is destined to top it up by notching up 185-plus seats in the assembly elections. No power on earth can stop the BJP from conquering Bihar.”

According to officials in the BJP, the party must contest a minimum of 200 seats if it wants to attempt to reach this target. That would leave only 43 seats for the BJP's allies in the state: the Lok Janshakti Party  and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party.

For its party, the  Rashtriya Lok Samata Party has already indicated to the BJP that it must get a minimum of 40 seats, a demand which that saffron party insiders have described as “highly unreasonable”.

According to officials, Paswan’s suggestion that he would like 62 seats emanates from the fact that the Lok Janshakti Party had contested 75 seats in 2010 assembly elections and had either won or come second in 52. However, the Lok Janshakti Party does not have a presence in the present Bihar assembly.


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