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BJP to stick with LS alliance for bypoll

New Delhi/Patna, July 30: The BJP, Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) will contest the upcoming Assembly bypolls together in the state. The decision comes on a day the RJD, JDU and Congress made their alliance official.

Senior BJP leaders from Bihar were in Delhi to hold talks with party national president Amit Shah in this regard. After a series of meetings, the BJP agreed to give one seat each to Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP. The three parties collectively registered a landslide victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

According to sources, state BJP president Mangal Pandey met RSLP chief and Union minister Kushwaha, the LJP’s Chirag Paswan and various other leaders of these parties after which they went to meet Shah at the BJP headquarters.

“The party agreed to let its alliance partners in Bihar fight from one seat each even as they were pitching for two. Negotiations are now on to decide which seats would be given to them. It should be clear by tomorrow as we are working on the nitty-gritty. We are taking the elections very seriously as they are happening so soon after Lok Sabha elections and will hint at people’s satisfaction with the new Union government under Narendra Modi’s leadership,” said a senior BJP leader who did not wish to be quoted.

Ten constituencies — Jale, Parbatta, Mohania, Mohiuddin Nagar, Raj Nagar, Chapra, Banka, Hajipur, Narkatiaganj and Bhagalpur — will go to the polls on August 21 and the last date for filing of nomination is August 2.

Sources said the RLSP was likely to contest from Parbatta and field Angad Kushwaha.

The LJP’s seat was yet to be finalised. BJP sources in Patna said candidate names for most seats had been cleared. They said former MLA Ramnarayan Mandal would contest from Banka and Ramprit Paswan for Raj Nagar reserved Assembly seat. A former RJD man, N. Ram, would contest from Mohania reserved seat.

Renu Kumari would be the party’s candidate from Narkatiaganj and another former RJD man, Ram Nivas Prasad, from Jale.

With the BJP leadership not wanting a repeat of Uttarakhand bypolls, where the party did not win a single seat, the state leadership appears anxious to retain their winning trend in Bihar.

The BJP could play the backward caste card in a big way by fielding candidates belonging to either OBC or EBC. “We realise that the Modi wave, which dominated the Lok Sabha elections, would not be there and the issues would be local,” said a senior party leader.

Among candidates who won in 2010 from the seats going for bypolls next month were BJP leaders like Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Janardan Singh Sigriwal, Satish Dubey, Rana Gangeshwar Singh, Vijay Kumar Mishra and Nityanand Rai. Four of them have since become Lok Sabha MPs while Rana and Mishra joined the JDU.