With less than a month to polling in Bihar, parties have started tightening their alliances and investing in appearing more consolidated and coherent to their voters. The Daily News And Analysis reports that the Bharatiya Janata Party may have reached a deal with former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who's been demanding more seats to ally. "Instead of 162 seats, sources said the BJP has now settled down to contest on 157 seats which is still a major chunk in the 243-member Assembly, leaving 86 for the allies in the final agreement being carved at the residence of its president Amit Shah," according to a report in the paper.
The BJP is yet to announce if it will project a chief ministerial candidate to face off against Nitish Kumar.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which was earlier lobbying that the BJP should contest only 125 seats, got 41 seats in the deal, followed by 25 seats to Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP).
Joining the fray is Hyderabad MP Assadudin Owasi announced hat his party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will field candidates from the Seemanchal region, which will likely worry the grand secular alliance of JD (U), RJD and Congress led by chief minister Nitish Kumar.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told PTI that Owaisi's entry wouldn't make much of a difference. "Owaisi's AIMIM contesting Bihar polls will make no difference to BJP's prospects. Owaisi's attempt to create a fear factor (among the minority community) will not work against BJP in these elections."
According to a recent HuffPost-CVoter prepoll the Bihar voter would like to see Nitish Kumar as CM again but Modi's popularity as PM could play spoilsport.
The sample of 10,636 voters interviewed seemed to suggest that more than 53 percent people said that they would like to see Nitish Kumar as the CM of Bihar. BJP's Sushil Modi is far behind with 18.4 percent supporters. Even though BJP had managed to amass a huge number of votes in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana despite not projecting a leader, this might not work in the Bihar elections.