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BJP, Paswan in tieup talks

New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI): The talks between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan over an alliance for the Lok Sabha have reached an advanced stage and the two parties are believed to be negotiating seat-sharing.

BJP sources said an alliance with LJP could swing between four to five per cent votes and help the combination raise its tally substantially in Bihar, where 40 Lok Sabha seats are at stake.

”The talks have reached an advanced stage,” a source said.

The sources dismissed reports that BJP will give eight seats to LJP, saying that is too many.

Asked about the benefits of such an alliance, the sources said, “When one percent of swing can decide the government in Chhattisgarh, a swing of four to five percent of votes can be crucial in the three-cornered contest in Bihar.”

The Paswan community, over which the LJP has considerable influence, accounts for anywhere between four to five percent of voters in the state.

They also discounted the fears of many state leaders, who had a meeting with party president Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, that an alliance with LJP may be detrimental to BJP.

The sources said BJP would ask LJP not to field leaders with criminal background in case of an alliance.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain, meanwhile, claimed that there was no offer yet from Paswan.

”We want to have an alliance with 121 crore people of India. Whosoever offers us help to make (Narendra) Modi the PM, we welcome them,” he said when asked about party's position on possible alliance with LJP.

”Paswan has said he can consider an alliance with BJP. His proposal has not come to us yet. Our central leadership will decide once it reaches us,” said Hussain, an MP from Bihar who is said to be in touch with LJP over the alliance.

BJP also hit out at the Central Bureau of Investigation over reports that it may question Paswan in a corruption case, saying the probe agency is a ”loyal Congress ally” which becomes active whenever a UPA ally appears to be heading for a split.

”CBI is generous to those who shout slogans in support of Congress and harass those who do not do so,” Hussain said.


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