Clearing the air on the JD(U) not joining the Central government, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said the BJP’s offer should have aimed at proportional representation of all NDA allies. He also made it clear that the JD (U) will not be joining the government in the future and reiterated that it doesn’t mean his party is not with the ruling alliance.
Nitish told reporters, “In Bihar, we have a system of proportional representation in the government. The same system prevailed during the A B [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee government. But the BJP did not have a majority on its own then. The situation is different now. The BJP has a majority on its own.”
The JD(U) was offered one ministerial berth in the new government. The party won 16 Lok Sabha seats in the recently-concluded elections.
On whether the JD(U) would join the government in the future, Nitish said, “Such things are decided in an alliance at the outset of government formation. We will not join the government in the future. Sarkar mein shaamil hona hi saath hona nahi hota (Not joining the government does not mean that we are not together).”
Nitish said he had met BJP national president Amit Shah to discuss the issue. “I discussed it with party leaders, who unanimously rejected the proposal. There should have been an offer of proportional representation, not a symbolic one. We are not upset or unhappy. We are only in favour of proportional representation. We have won 16 seats and nobody had expected us to get so close in Kishanganj (which was won by Congress). We also won eight seats lost by BJP in the 2014 elections.”
A senior JD (U) leader who did not want to be named said the party could not accept the offer. “We represent vast sections of OBCs, EBCs and Dalits. With one ministry, we would not have been able to send across any message to our cadre. How can the JD (U) be treated in the same way as Ramdas Athawale’s party?” the JD(U) leader asked.
Assembly elections are due in Bihar next year.
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