Kicking off preparations for a joint fight in the upcoming Bihar elections, BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda Saturday met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna and discussed the seat-sharing among the alliance partners in NDA.
Nadda was accompanied by party leader and state deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, national general secretary and state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav and state president Sanjay Jaiswal.
During the meeting, the BJP leadership is also understood to have assured Kumar that it will intervene and iron out the differences that have of late cropped up between the JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) on account of the belligerent stance adopted by LJP president Chirag Paswan, PTI reported. The LJP has left it on the party president to decide on whether it will join hands with JD(U) or not. Taking advantage of the situation, the grand alliance partners have signalled that they were open to accommodating the LJP and asked Chirag Paswan to “not tolerate insult” in the NDA.
Meanwhile, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan had Friday said that he “stands firmly” with his son and has “full faith that Chirag will take Bihar to new heights”. “…I am happy that my son Chirag is with me and has been taking due care of me. At the same time, he has been taking care of party activities well. I have full faith that Chirag will take Bihar to new heights because of his ‘yuva soch’. I am standing firmly with every decision of Chirag…,” he tweeted.
The BJPs election in-charge for Bihar Assembly Devendra Fadnavis had also sought to make light of the acrimony between JD(U) and LJP. “Nobody is going to leave the NDA, though many may join us”. He had also attributed the sharp differences that have emerged between the two parties to “diverse ideologies a reason why we all are separate political parties, though united in purpose,” he said on Friday.
Meanwhile, in a big blow to the Opposition Grand Alliance which comprises the RJD, Congress, RLSP and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), two Congress MLAs, a former RJD minister and several other leaders including an RLSP spokesman joined the JD(U) on Friday. Congress legislators Sudarshan Kumar and Purnima Yadav, senior RJD leader and former state minister Bhola Rai, Rashtriya Lok Samata Partys (RLSP) Bihar unit spokesman Abhishek Jha are among those who switched sides on Friday. With this, the total number of RJD MLAs who have so far quit the party to join the Janata Dal (United) in the past one month rises to seven while five RJD MLCs joined the ruling party in June.
On the other hand, the Congress has kick-started its campaign for the Bihar elections by holding district-level virtual rallies, but the continuing lack of clarity over the contours of the RJD-led Grand Alliance and the uncertainty over the number and identification of seats to be contested by each of the constituents is causing unease in the party and in some of the allies. Sources have told The Indian Express RJD and Congress are not on the same page on accommodating smaller parties like the Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP and Mukesh Sahni-led Vikas-sheel Insaan Party (VIP) and this divergence in views is proving to be a hurdle.
The poll dates are likely to be announced shortly as the Election Commission has indicated that it would like to conclude the exercise before the term of the present house ends on November 29.
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