Arun Jaitley meet Paswans over Bihar seat-sharing

Arun Jaitley meet Paswans over Bihar seat-sharing

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday held discussions with Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan over seat sharing arrangements in Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The discussion came a day after LJP leaders met BJP President Amit Shah and shared their concerns over the delay in holding talks over the seat sharing issue.

After the meeting with Jaitley, LJP Parliamentary Board Chairman Chirag Paswan expressed hopes that talks would move in the right direction.

"Talks are going on. An announcement will be made at an appropriate time. We have put our points before the BJP leadership and the important thing is that we are being heard. Hope everything will be fine," he told reporters.

His uncle, Ram Chandra Paswan, who also attended the meeting said that the LJP would remain part of National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

"We are and will remain in the NDA. Seat sharing will be announced this week," Ram Chandra Paswan said.

"The party, which is having stronghold in any specific area, should be respected. We are a small party. We need adequate time for preparation. That's why we wanted the issue to be resolved at the earliest," he told reporters.

Sources in the BJP said a final arrangement of seats would be formalised after a meeting of the BJP and LJP leaders with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in Delhi.

A Bharatiya Janata Party leader also cliamed that talks were going on in the right direction and everything will be finalised soon.

Sources in the LJP said that the party wanted to contest six Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and has been asking for a Rajya Sabha seat.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had contested from 30 seats and won 22, while the LJP won six seats and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), which is now a part of Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Bihar, bagged three.

In 2014, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) had contested on its own but performed poorly. It had won only two seats.

On Thursday, BJP leader and Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav first went to meet Chirag and Ram Vilas Paswan and the three leaders later went to the residence of Amit Shah. They were joined there by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The BJP and the Nitish Kumar-led JD-U had declared earlier that they would contest an equal number of seats in Bihar in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.