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|January 11, 1998||
BJP, Samata Party sign electoral pact in Bihar
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Samata Party have finalised a seat sharing arrangement for the general election in Bihar.
Samata Party spokesman Digvijay Singh said his party will field candidates from the 22 seats it had contested in 1996. The BJP will contest the 32 other constituencies in the state.
The arrangement was finalised at a meeting between Nitish Kumar, president of the Samata party's Bihar unit, and his BJP counterpart Yashwant Sinha. Also present at the meeting were Samata Party president George Fernandes and Sushil Kumar Modi, leader of the BJP in the Bihar assembly.
The pact comes after some shadowboxing from the Samata Party which wanted the BJP to issue a common minimum programme before it finalised a seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar. BJP leaders then claimed that the Samata Party's sudden belligerence was designed to get 24 seats in Bihar. As the Samata Party could win only 6 out of the 22 seats in 1996, the BJP's Bihar unit felt it had overestimated the Samata Party's appeal the last time around, hence there was no need to give Fernandes and Co all the seats they wanted.
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