As NDA totters in Bihar, BJP says it will stand by alliance with JD(U)

File photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with BJP president J.P. Nadda.

File photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with BJP president J.P. Nadda. | Photo Credit: PTI

The BJP on Monday said it was watching the developments in Bihar closely, and added that as of now they stood by what party president J.P. Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah told party leaders in Patna in late July — that the BJP would be fighting the 2024 general elections and 2025 Assembly election with the Janata Dal (U).

The relationship between the BJP and the JD(U) has had many twists and turns and its seems matters in Bihar are building up to some sort of denouement. In all of this, two to three things are extremely clear — that while BJP’s national leadership is ready to turn a blind eye or even quietly encourage covert ways of chipping away at its ally’s support base, as it happened with Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party playing vote cutter in the 2020 Assembly polls reducing JD(U) to 43 seats (now 45), the BJP is not ready for any parting of ways.

In the meetings of the national executive of BJP’s frontal organisations held in Patna last month, the national leadership made it clear that the alliance between the party and the JD(U) was to be held onto. This was despite a clear mood in the BJP State unit that the relationship between the two parties was not as it should be.

Mr. Nadda, who went to visit his alma mater Patna University was gheraoed by students owing allegiance to the All India Students Association, who raised slogans against him. It was termed as a breach of security by the BJP local unit, but the national leadership glossed over it. Even during the protests against the Centre’s new recruitment policy for the armed forces, Agnipath, and the violence aimed at BJP leaders in the State, Mr. Shah advised patience and calm to party leaders. 

On its part, the BJP had asked party leaders to visit 200 out of the 243 Assembly seats in the State prior to the national executive, which riled the JD(U). “Why 200 seats, why not prepare for all 243?” said JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh “Lallan” at this move.

On Sunday, he was more explicit. “Two conspiracies were hatched against Nitish Kumar in recent times — one the Chirag model of 2020, which was responsible for bringing down our Assembly seats to 43. Another had been in the making and was nipped in the bud,” Mr. Singh said a clear indication towards R.C.P Singh. Mr. Kumar had not been happy that Mr. Singh had become Minister in the Union government from the JD(U) quota and appeared cosier with the BJP than his own party.

With all this happening, including a meeting called for Tuesday by the JD(U) for all its MPs and MLAs, the BJP is still holding fast to its cautious view, plainly because the party is not hugely confident that it can face the electorate of Bihar on its own, its experience in the 2015 polls, when it came third, after Rashtriya Janata Dal and the JD(U) which were in alliance, informing much of its attitude. The BJP is hoping that looking the other way may help it weather another storm in the one of the most complicated political relationships in Indian politics.

While no one in the BJP commented on the goings-on in Bihar, Mr. Nadda held a meeting on the issue in New Delhi to explore the party’s options in terms of numbers.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 11:44:11 pm |