In one of the strongest display of bonhomie between BJP and JD(U) amid rumblings over seat sharing, BJP president Amit Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met over breakfast on Thursday, with Shah confirming that both the parties would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together. Saying that BJP was firmly behind Kumar, Shah asserted that the BJP-JD(U) alliance was on a strong footing and won’t break.
“The BJP-led NDA’s alliance with Nitish Kumar will not break, it will continue. We are with Nitish Kumar and will continue to be with him,” ANI quoted Shah as saying after the meeting with Kumar, in which both the leaders are understood to have discussed the seat-sharing formula for the 2019 elections.
Shah, whose visit to Bihar was his first after the JD(U) re-joined the NDA last year, said the time had come to uproot Congress from the country and predicted that the alliance would win all the 40 seats in Bihar. “The end of Congress will take place in Bihar. The NDA is united and strong in Bihar. We will contest the Lok Sabha election together and will win all 40 seats in the state,” Shah said.
More than the statements by Shah, the image of the two leaders smiling and bonding well during their 45-minute meeting in Patna sent a message that all was well between the alliance partners. The meeting comes in the wake of Kumar re-affirming the alliance in JD(U)’s executive council summit last week that quashed rumours over disquiet in the coalition.
Speculation about the JD(U) mooting an exit from the NDA had also arisen in the wake of Kumar’s phone call to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad when he underwent a fistula surgery in Mumbai. However, Kumar dismissed such rumours as “hot air” and said there were no differences with BJP. The BJP president and Kumar are scheduled to meet again over dinner hosted at the chief minister’s residence.