After days of hectic parleys, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have reportedly finalised seat sharing deal in Bihar for 2019 Lok Sabha election. Sources privy to the developments said that the LJP has agreed to contest five Lok Sabha seats in Bihar while Paswan will be given Rajya Sabha berth.
An official announcement regarding the seat sharing deal is likely to be made on Saturday.
The deal was clinched after Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag met BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on Friday.
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.
Sources later said differences between the two parties have been resolved.
The LJP is also keen to have a seat in Uttar Pradesh but, a source said, the party may be asked to contest one seat less in Bihar. If not Uttar Pradesh, it can be offered a seat in Jharkhand.
BJP president Amit Shah had earlier announced that his party and its key ally Janata Dal (United), which is headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, 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 Shah and Jaitley, had held an hour-long meeting with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Thursday to resolve 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.
(With inputs from PTI)