The three NDA constituents in Bihar -- BJP, JD(U) and LJP -- Sunday announced the names of candidates for the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies for the coming general elections. As per the announcement made at a joint press conference of the three parties here, the BJP and the JD(U) will contest 17 seats each and the LJP in six.
An agreement on the seat-sharing had already been reached between the three parties. According to the announcement, the BJP will contest from Paschim Champaran (Bettiah), Purvi Champaran (Motihari), Muzaffarpur, Saran, Maharjaganj, Sheohar, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Ujiarpur, Begusarai, Patna Sahib, Patliputra, Ara, Buxar, Sasaram, Aurangabad and Araria.
The JD(U) will field candidates from Valmikinagar, Siwan, Gopalganj, Jehanbad, Gaya, Karakat, Madhepura, Supaul, Jhanjharpur, Sitamarhi, Purnea, Kishanganj, Banka, Bhagalpur, Munger, Nalanda and Katihar. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP will contesting the Lok Sabha seats of Hajipur, Samastipur, Jamui, Nawada, Khagaria and Vaishali.
The joint NDA press conference was held at the JD(U) office here in the presence of the three NDA partners, which were represented by Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai, state JD(U) chief Bashistha Narayan Singh and LJP chief and state minister Pashupati Kumar Paras. The grand alliance in Bihar comprising the RJD, Congress, RLSP, HAM(S), Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal and Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni's Vikasshil Insan Party is yet to make announcement of seat sharing among its partners.
Former chief minister and HAM(S) president Jitan Ram Manjhi Friday said the seat sharing in grand alliance will be announced on Monday. But given the rumblings within the alliance, as every constituent is claiming a larger share of seats, it is to be seen whether the seat sharing will be announced on the day.
BJP chief Amit Shah had announced in October 2018 that the party and the JD(U) will contest equal number of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. In December the same year, he had announced that the BJP and the JD(U) will contest 17 seats each, while the LJP will get the remaining six seats in the state.
The LJP will also be given a Rajya Sabha berth and Paswan is likely to be its candidate, he had said. The Lok Sabha election in the state will be held in seven phases with the first one on April 11 and the last on May 19.
The poll process will start on March 18 with the issuance of notification for the filing of nomination papers for the first phase. The counting of votes will take place along with the rest of the country on May 23, the Election Commission had said.
A total of 7.06 crore voters will exercise their franchise in 72,723 polling stations in the state.
(With inputs from agencies.)