With the JD(U) joining hands with the BJP yet again, the Uttar Pradesh units of the two parties, which have been sparring for the past few years, will now have to find ways to work together.
For, while the JD (U) had officially split from the NDA four years ago, the acrimony between the two in Uttar Pradesh had been going on for longer.
The 2012 Assembly polls saw the two allies bicker over seat sharing. The JD(U)’s past performance did not inspire the BJP — in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the JD(U) contested two constituencies, Salempur and Badaun, and lost both; in 2004, it contested in three and won one. The alliance broke and JD (U) contested 219 seats in the 2012 Assembly polls. It lost all seats. From then on, the relationship between the two reached new lows, before Nitish parted ways with the NDA in 2013.
In January, the JD(U) inducted Akhil Bharatiya Patel Navnirman Sena (ABPNS) general secretary Akhilesh Katiyar, known to be close to Gujarat’s Hardik Patel who led demonstrations against the BJP in demand of reservation for his community. The JD(U) extended support to Patel’s rallies.
ABPNS, at a meeting of Patels in Varanasi last year, announced support for JD (U) in the UP Assembly polls, which it ultimately did not contest. Asked whether the two parties will be able to reconcile differences, Katiyar on Thursday said, “things will settle with time”.
During the 2017 UP polls, JD (U) appealed to voters to support secular parties. Party spokesperson K C Tyagi had then said, “We want a non-BJP government in UP to pave the way for removing BJP from power at the Centre in 2019. JD (U) is the mother organisation of anti-BJP politics.”