NEW DELHI -- A day after Bharatiya Janata Party's seat sharing deal left Bihar's Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan decidedly underwhelmed, his son Chirag Paswan delivered a mixed message of being deeply disappointed over the allotment of 40 seats for their Lok Janshakti Party, but he also insisted that NDA allies stand united for the upcoming state election.
On Tuesday, the younger Paswan, who also holds a parliamentary seat from Jamui constituency, said that his party had communicated their worries about the number of seats to BJP chief Amit Shah, who, he said, informed him about certain constraints, but assured the LPJ leadership of trying to address their concerns.
"We were disappointed because we were not given what was promised," he told reporters. "There is dissatisfaction in the camp but not anger."
While holding on to 160 out of 243 seats, the BJP has allotted 83 seats to its three allies who are expected to rake in the Dalit and MahaDalit votes in the Bihar state elections which kicks off on October 12.
On Monday, Shah announced that LPJ would contest 40 seats, Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party has 23 seats, and 20 seats went to Jitan Ram Manhji's Hindustani Awam Morcha.
In increasing the seat share for MahaDalit leader Manjhi from 15 to 20, the BJP reduced a few seats from LPJ's share, while hanging on to over two-thirds share of the seats.
The recent seat share announcement was preceded by a spat between Manjhi and Paswan in which the MahaDalit leader took exception to the LPJ chief's remarks that he was on trial in the alliance, and warned his poll-partner against claiming to be a leader of Dalits in the state.
"How could he (Paswan) claim to be a national leader of Dalits when he did not utter a word on several issues plaguing the Scheduled Castes (SC). He didn't even protest when his own castes of Paswan and Dusadh were not included among 'mahadalits' by the Nitish Kumar government," he said, last week.
While Chirag Paswan insisted that Manjhi and Kushwaha "are like family," the BJP will have to guard against spats turning into divisions as the parties get down to allotting constituencies among candidates of the four parties.
"There are always problems within the family, but there is no question of splitting," he told reporters.