The BJP is close to sealing a seat-sharing deal with its three allies in Bihar, besides finalising its strategy for the next Parliamentary elections in the state.
The deal and the strategy will be presented to Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his visit to Jhanjharpur in Madhubani district today (September 16).
Top leaders of the BJP in Bihar told Swarajya that the party is likely to contest from about 30 seats.
Apart from the 17 seats it won in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the BJP also wants to contest from 13 of the 16 seats won by the Janata Dal (United), which was its ally that time.
“The JD(U) won so many seats last time solely because it was in alliance with us and benefited from the persona of Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah who campaigned extensively for JD(U) candidates as well. Had the JD(U) contested the elections on its own, it would have won a maximum of two seats like it did in 2014,” said BJP state president Samrat Choudhary.
“We are very strong in most of the 16 seats won by the JD(U). The JD(U) won those seats only because it was our ally. So we will contest from a majority of those (16) seats and defeat the JD(U) in those seats,” said BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Of the remaining ten seats (Bihar has 40 Lok Sabha seats), the BJP wants to allot six seats to the two factions of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), and two each to the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal (RLJD) and Jiten Ram Manjhi-led Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular).
The LJP, which was united in 2019 (it splintered in October 2021), had won six seats. The BJP wants it to contest from those seats (that it won) this time as well.
The RLJD will also be given the two seats it won in 2019. The HAM-S won one seat last time, and will be given an additional seat to contest from this time.
The BJP’s internal assessment is that the chances of victory of the LJP, RLJD and HAM-S from the seats it won in 2019 are very bright. Hence, it wants its allies to contest from those seats in the next Lok Sabha polls as well.
The only point of concern, said former minister Amarendra Pratap Singh, is the split in the LJP. “If the two LJP factions do not unite, they may witness an erosion of their support base. That is why we are urging both the factions to bury the hatchet,” he said.
The central leadership of the BJP, it is learnt, has spoken to both Chirag Paswan, who heads the LJP (Ram Vilas) and his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, who heads the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party (RLJP) to reunite.
Senior BJP leaders have reportedly held discussions with Paras, who is the Union Minister of Food Processing Industries, as well as Chirag Paswan. Both have been urged to sink their differences and reunite.
The BJP’s Electoral Strategy
The primary focus of the BJP is to stitch together a social coalition of upper castes and a majority of the non-Yadav backward castes to take on the RJD-JD(U)-led mahagathbandhan in Bihar.
The BJP has figured out that the Congress and the Congress and the Left parties are unlikely to win any seats in the parliamentary elections.
The Congress won two seats in 2014 and just one in 2019. The Left parties drew a blank in 2014 and 2019.
“It is good that the Congress and Left parties will be contesting from several seats. We will have straight contests with those parties in the seats they contest from, and we are sure of winning those seats. It will be very easy for us to win those seats,” said Samrat Choudhary.
Keeping the objective of forming a rainbow coalition of the non-Yadav backward castes and Dalits in mind, the BJP has launched a mass outreach programme at the grassroots level to reach out to these communities.
The non-Yadav OBCs and a section of Dalits form the support base of the JD(U) and the BJP is determined to breach this, said Suhil Modi.
It is in keeping with this strategy that the BJP central leadership appointed Samrat Choudhary, a Kushwaha, as the state president a few months ago. That sent a strong positive signal to the Kushwaha community who were traditional bee-keepers.
Another prominent Kushwaha community leader and former Union Minister, Nagmani, is also set to join the BJP.
The BJP had nominated Shambhu Sharan Patel, a prominent leader of the Dhanuk community that is categorised under the EBC, to the Rajya Sabha last year. EBCs constitute 30 per cent of the state’s electorate.
Hari Sahni, a member of the state Legislative Council, was made the leader of opposition in the Council. Sahni belongs to the Mallah (boatmen) community that is part of the Nishad community which has a sizable presence in several Lok Sabha constituencies.
BJP leaders told Swarajya that the party is concentrating on expanding its support base among the many numerically smaller castes. “We want to win over all the non-Yadav OBS and EBCs as well as Dalits. This rainbow coalition of castes that we are stitching together will propel us to victory in the next parliamentary elections,” said Sushil Modi.
The BJP is also putting the final touches to its campaign strategy after receiving detailed reports from committees constituted at the central, district and local levels to collect information on implementation of various welfare schemes of the Union Government. These committees also assessed the impact of these schemes using scientific assessment tools.
The party has also proposed a number of other mechanisms to ensure effective campaigning. All these will be finalised at the meeting that senior state leaders have with Amit Shah this afternoon.
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