BJP chief meets over party’s Bihar core committee, chalks out road ahead- via protests, wooing broader base

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP National President J.P. Nadda with Bihar BJP leaders during Bihar BJP Core Committee meeting, at BJP headquarters in New Delhi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP National President J.P. Nadda with Bihar BJP leaders during Bihar BJP Core Committee meeting, at BJP headquarters in New Delhi | Photo Credit: PTI

On a day when Janata Dal (U)–Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alliance swore in its council of ministers in Bihar, the BJP, left out in the cold after the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke their alliance, got into a huddle to discuss the future course of action for the party in the State, with the immediate resolve that the General Elections in 2024 are to prioritised.

BJP president J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah as well as 20 other leaders of the BJP in Bihar, including State unit president Sanjay Jayaswal and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar, met in New Delhi over the party’s rather lonely predicament.

After the meeting, Jayaswal said: “There was a meeting of the Bihar core group under the leadership of J.P. Nadda and Amit Shah. This new alliance (JD-U and RJD) is a betrayal of the people and its gives a backdoor entry to Lalu Raj in the State. We will protest from the House (Assembly) to the street. BJP will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and we will win more than 35 seats.”

Sources present at the meeting said that the leadership was clear that the immediate priority was the 2024 General Election, and since the polls were for the national level, there was some comfort with regard to the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the face of the party.

“Just before the national executive meeting of the party’s frontal organizations in Patna last month, leaders had been told to fan out to 200 Assembly constituencies to get feedback from the party cadre and from the ground,” said a source. “That feedback was also sought by the national leadership. In much of the reports, the general unpopularity of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came to the fore,” added the source. “The anti-incumbency that Nitish Kumar is trying to shed with a new alliance will not work,” he further added.

The visit by the BJP leaders to these 200 Assembly seats was criticised by JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh “Lallan” just before the breaking of the alliance.

The national leadership also felt that the BJP needed to be a lot more aggressive in reaching out to sections of society that it hadn’t earlier due to various reasons, like Extremely Backward Classes and Mahadalits, who incidentally form a key part of the JD(U) support base.

“The 2020 Assembly polls demonstrated that Mr. Modi and the welfare schemes of the Centre were a key aspect of retaining the support base for the NDA. The BJP must now emphasise on the Centre’s role in delivery of welfare,” said the source.

What was not discussed but sources say could be imminent is a change in the leadership in the State unit, with some saying that a change in the Bihar unit chief, leader of the Legislative Assembly and Council are both on the anvil. Suspense also prevails over whether or not former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, currently out of Bihar state politics and a member of the Rajya Sabha, will be brought back to helm affairs.

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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 12:58:31 pm |