BJP denies rift with JD(U) in Bihar

Sushil Kumar Modi  

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said here on Monday that there was no contradiction between the BJP and the Janata Dal(U) in the State over sharing of seats for the Lok Sabha election in 2019.

“When hearts have met, sharing seats is no big deal … all this will be decided once we sit together for our meeting,” the BJP leader said in response to a Janata Dal(U) statement that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would be the face of the alliance in the State during the election.

“The votes will be sought in Bihar in PM’s (Narendra Modi’s) name and on the basis of Nitish Kumar’s work … where is the contradiction here,” Mr. Sushil Modi said.

While the Opposition parties took a dig at the JD(U) statement, the BJP downplayed the issue, saying there was no contradiction between the two parties.

Tyagi’s declaration

Ahead of a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar on Thursday, K.C. Tyagi, national general secretary and spokesperson of JD(U), made the declaration at a press conference in Patna on Sunday that Mr. Nitish Kumar would lead the alliance in Bihar for the election.

Mr. Tyagi, Pawan Varma, another national general secretary of the party, Prashant Kishor, chief electoral strategist of the JD(U) in the 2015 Assembly election, and Mr. Kumar had nearly a four-hour meeting on Sunday at the Chief Minister’s official residence in Patna.

“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is the tallest leader of the NDA in Bihar and the BJP, LJP [Lok Jan Shakti Party] and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party will have to approach the Lok Sabha poll under his leadership,” said Mr. Varma, who had been disgruntled with the party leadership over parting ways with the Rashtriya Janata Dal in July 2017.

Party insiders told The Hindu that as the other two alliance partners of the BJP, the JD(U) had started flexing its muscles for more seats. But Mr. Tyagi said there was no issue over seat-sharing.

Earlier, Upendra Kushwaha, RLSP leader, had called for an early seat-sharing arrangement.

LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan too had raised the demand for special category status for Bihar at a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi on Sunday.

2014 equation

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP gave seven seats to the LJP, which won six of the them. The RLSP won three out of the four allotted to it. The BJP contested 29 seats and won 22. The JD(U) won two seats and the RJD bagged four.

“In the NDA, the JD(U) has the largest number of seats in the Assembly now. After the Lok Sabha poll, there will be Assembly election in Bihar. So in view of all this, we’ll discuss the issue of seat sharing”, Mr. Tyagi said.

Opposition view

The Opposition parties said Mr. Nitish Kumar was trying to find an excuse for making another U-turn. “Everybody knows that Narendra Modi is the only face of the NDA … in fact, Nitish Kumar is now trying to snap ties with the BJP as he knows he will not get more than two seats,” RJD spokesperson Bhai Birendra said. The Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi echoed the view.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 1:07:18 AM |

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