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NDA partners follow a plan to decide seats

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The Times Of India
18th March, 2019 09:50 IST

PATNA: The top brass of the NDA have reached common understanding that BJP and LJP would give desired representation to the upper caste sections, while JD(U) would concentrate on giving representation to backward castes (BCs), extremely backward castes (EBCs) and Muslims, lacing it with scheduled caste (SC) representation for Gaya and Gopalganj to counter the Mahagathbandhan of RJD and others, JD(U) sources said.

“The strategy is that the JD(U) would have responsibility to bring SCs, BCs and EBCs, including Muslims, under the NDA umbrella to counter and neutralize the pull and influence of the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan on these sections,” a JD(U) source said.

That being the situation, JD(U) has in its kitty Purnia, Kishanganj and Katihar in the Seemanchal region. The fourth seat in the area, Araria, has gone to the BJP, because it has the tradition of winning this seat. The constituency has significant presence of the Muslim community. Besides, this constituency has had past instances of getting polarized along religious lines.

On these lines, JD(U) is likely to field Dulalchand Goswami from Katihar. He is from the EBC section. It is, in fact, waiting for the Congress to announce its candidate from Kishanganj, a Muslim-dominated seat. JD(U)’s sitting MP in Purnia is Santosh Kumar Kushwaha. JD(U) is most likely to field Pramod Singh Chandravanshi (former state EBC Commission chairman) from Jehanabad and former BSP MLA Mahabali Singh (a Kushwaha) from Karakat, sources said.

BJP insiders claimed the decision to give away a few seating seats to JD(U) and LJP was taken after a survey conducted by the saffron party to take feedback on the performance of its MPs much before the announcement of the polls. “Strong anti-incumbency was found against our MPs in Siwan and Gopalganj. Hence, it was decided to give these seats to allies. Similarly, we decided to give Bhagalpur seat to JD(U) as there was a nasty infighting between Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Ashwini Chaubey there,” a senior Bihar BJP functionary told TOI on the condition of anonymity.

He added: “We have also given many difficult seats to JD(U), including those constituencies having majority population of Muslims and Yadavs. We think that JD(U) may still perform better in those constituencies based on its pro-Muslim and clean image of Nitish.”

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