Now, I will remain here: Nitish after first meeting with PM since rejoining NDA

The Bihar CM, who has switched loyalties five times over the last decade, vows to stay put this time; meets Home Minister, BJP chief ahead of February 12 floor test; says LS seat-sharing will be discussed later

Published - February 07, 2024 08:06 pm IST - PATNA

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: ANI

Following his first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he rejoined the NDA fold, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar vowed to stick with his latest alliance.

“Ab idhar-udhar jaane ki baat nahi hai. Ab yehi rahenge [Now, there is no need to go here and there. Now, I will remain here],” he told journalists in Delhi after his half-hour meeting with the PM and then with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda.

The Janata Dal (United) leader had joined hands with the BJP again on January 28, after severing ties with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) which was then in power in the State. This was Mr. Kumar’s second political U-turn in two years and his fifth switch in loyalties over the last decade. He then took oath as the State’s Chief Minister for the ninth time, along with two Deputy CMs from the BJP and six Ministers. On February 12, the new NDA government will seek a vote of confidence in the State Assembly.

Seat-sharing talks later

On the question of seat-sharing arrangements for the upcoming Lok Sabha poll, Mr. Kumar said, “These things will be discussed later.”

Out of Bihar’s 40 LS seats, the BJP and JD(U) had each contested 17 during the last election in 2019, leaving six seats for their other ally, the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas). The BJP had then won all 17 of their seats, while the JD(U) had won 16 seats. This time round, both parties will find it hard to spare seats for each other, as their other two allies — the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, and the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal — will also have to be given some seats.

The Bihar CM’s agenda for his meetings with the top BJP leadership was likely to have included his demand for a special package to Bihar; the upcoming Rajya Sabha poll scheduled to be held on February 27, and the six seats becoming vacant from the State; and his new government’s floor test.

Mr. Kumar is also likely to meet the BJP’s veteran leader L.K. Advani while in Delhi, to personally congratulate him on receiving the Bharat Ratna.

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