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Paswan holds talks with Jaitley

Paswan holds talks with Jaitley
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New Delhi: LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan Friday met BJP leader Arun Jaitley amid indications that the two parties may soon arrive at a seat-sharing agreement in Bihar for the Lok Sabha polls.

Paswan's son Chirag, who has been vocal in airing his party's differences with the BJP, told reporters that talks were on and claimed there were other issues besides sharing of seats.

Another Lok Janshakti Party leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that talks have been positive and they were hopeful of an early solution.

"If all goes well, we will contest six of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar," he said.

There is speculation that the regional party has also sought a Rajya Sabha berth.

If the LJP is given six seats, as many as it had won in 2014, then the BJP and its another ally Janata Dal (United), which is headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, will contest 17 seats each.

BJP president Amit Shah had earlier announced that his party and the JD(U) will be contesting equal number of seats in the politically crucial state where the BJP-led NDA had won 31 seats in 2014.

The deployment of Jaitley, an old Bihar hand in the party with friendly relations with leaders of different parties, by the BJP to buy truce with the LJP underscores the importance the saffron party has attached to continuing its alliance with Paswan's party, which enjoys strong influence among Dalits.

Top BJP leaders, including its president Amit Shah and Jaitley, had held an hour-long meeting with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Thursday to resolved their differences.

Chirag Paswan had earlier written a letter to Jaitley asking him to explain what benefits demonetisation brought to the country.

He had also tweeted that a delay in seat-sharing announcement may harm the ruling alliance.

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