Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Thursday denied reports of a disagreement with the Janata Dal (United) over seat sharing for the coming Lok Sabha poll.
“All speculation about differences with Nitish Kumar are unfounded… You can continue to speculate, but we’ll contest together and win all 40 seats in Bihar,” Mr. Shah told a large congregation of party workers at Patna’s Gyan Bhavan. “We know how to honour and keep our alliance partners together... if Chandrababu Naidu has parted ways with us, then Nitish Kumar has joined us... every day media keeps writing about differences between us, but the alliance between Nitish Kumar and the BJP will win all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar,” he asserted.
He urged the party cadres to reach out to voters and “make Narendra Modi Prime Minister once again”.
Mr. Shah spoke about the political journey of the BJP since 1950. “Several leaders and workers have sacrificed their lives for the sake of our party... BJP started with just 10 members and now it has 11 crore members. The party rules in about 70% of the country and in 2019 too, it will come to power under NDA alliance with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.”
Mounting an attack on the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Shah demanded to know what the party had done for the country during its rule of four generations. “Rahul Baba often asks what PM Modi has done, but the people of the country want to know what four generations of his family, who ruled the country for 55 years, have done...,” Mr Shah said.
“When the Congress was in power for 10 years it had given ₹1.93 lakh crore to Bihar, but the Narendra Modi-led NDA government gave ₹4.35 lakh crore in the last four years”, said Mr. Shah. “Our mission is that every citizen of this country gets a house by 2022... every house gets electricity and toilet. But Rahul Baba, what have your four generations done in the last 55 years?”
Earlier, Mr. Shah was accorded a grand welcome by BJP leaders and workers in Patna, where he met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other senior BJP leaders at the State guest house over breakfast. Later, he addressed party workers, booth-level in-charge. He also met party leaders in the evening to discuss the upcoming poll strategy.
Later in the evening, he reached the official residence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar 1, Anne Marg and had meetings with several leaders over dinner.
This was Mr. Shah’s first visit to the State since the JD(U) formed the government in Bihar with the BJP in July 2017.
A large number of hoardings, posters and billboards with pictures of Mr. Shah and State BJP leaders dotted the State capital to welcome him.
Meanwhile, party sources told The Hindu that both the leaders had reached an electoral agreement “based on some mutually agreed arithmetic” and the meeting between the two was held in a congenial atmosphere.
However, Opposition RJD leader and party spokesperson Bhai Birendra said, “let them conclude their meeting in congenial atmosphere, but their defeat is certain in people’s court of election”.