October 24, 2020

Are Nitish, Paswan and Kushwaha forcing BJP out of Bihar?

A file photo of CM Nitish Kumar, RLSP’s Upendra Kushwaha and LJP’s Ramvilas PaswanThe National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is holding a meeting in Patna to bring about peace between the two warring factions in Bihar. Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar, the head of Janata Dal (United), Sushil Kumar Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Upendra Kushwaha of the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) will attend this meeting.

But even before the meeting, KC Tyagi of JD(U) said that the NDA is not faring well across the country. Another general secretary of JD(U), Shyam Rajak, reiterated the party’s demand that they will not accept anything less than 25 seats. He went on to say that the BJP has constantly been unjust to the JD(U). And if the BJP wants to reap benefit from Nitish Kumar’s name, then the party will have to concede to the demands of JD(U).

These statements by the JD(U) leaders before the NDA meet in Patna reflect that the condition of NDA is deteriorating in the state. KC Tyagi said, “The JD(U) neither got a place at Centre nor are the given any importance in the policy making of NDA.”

“The BJP should utilise Nitish Kumar’s image because if the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 don’t show the same wave in favour of the BJP as there was in 2014, then it will be difficult for the NDA to return to power at Centre,” he added.

Shyam Rajak, however, believes that Nitish Kumar and JD(U) are playing a significant role in Bihar. “We had contested election on 25 seats in 2009. We again want 25 seats. There is no question of accepting anything less than that. If the NDA wants to benefit from Nitish Kumar’s image, then it has to do justice to JD(U),” said Rajak.

He also said that JD(U) supports NDA on the basis of ideology and policies, adding, “But we have been constantly a victim of injustice. The BJP will have to consider us and do justice to Bihar.”

On the other hand, Ram Vilas Paswan also is supporting JD(U) on many issues, whether it is the issue of granting special status to Bihar or diluting the SC/ST Act. Before the NDA meeting in Bihar on Thursday, Ram Vilas Paswan shared some photos and newspaper clippings on Twitter in which he can be seen greeting Nitish Kumar warmly.

His son Chirag Paswan can also be seen in these photos. Although BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, is also present in these pictures, the warmth which is apparent between Paswan and Nitish is seemingly absent between Nitish and Modi.

Pashupati Paras, a leader of Paswan’s LJP, made it clear that they will not compromise on the six seats on which they had won in the previous elections. “The BJP is the largest party of the NDA. It is the responsibility of the BJP to keep all the allies satisfied,” he said.

Earlier, JD(U) MP Pawan Verma had also said it emphatically whether it is Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, Nitish Kumar will remain the face of the coalition in Bihar. He also mentioned the NDA-1 formula.

In such a scenario, only four seats remain for the BJP to contest on. There are 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. If JD(U) takes 25, LJP seven and RLSP four, then the BJP would be left with only four seats.

At present, the BJP has 23 MPs from Bihar, LJP has 7, RLSP 3 and JD(U) 2 MPs.

Undoubtedly, in the first inning of NDA, JD(U) was like a big brother in Bihar. In 2009, JD(U) and BJP had together contested election from Bihar. At that time, JD(U) contested on 25 seats and the BJP on 15. But the situation changed in 2014. JD(U) parted ways with the BJP and contested independently. But it could win on only two seats while NDA under the leadership of the BJP won in 31 constituencies.

Senior journalist and political analyst Pramod Dutt believes that JD(U) is in fact trying to create pressure on NDA. JD(U)’s hold has weakened since 2009. So this pressure tactic is normal. “The JD(U) is not as strong as before and the BJP is not as weak as it was before. At that time BJP had tried hard to draw JD(U) into the fold of NDA. Considering the present scenario, JD(U) need the BJP and vice versa,” he said.

In fact, the voices of dissent have become stronger in the NDA after JD(U)’s defeat in Jokihat. JD(U) has opted for ‘pressure politics’ and has declared that in Bihar only JD(U) is the ‘big brother’, whether it’s Lok Sabha election or assembly polls.

Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP has also said that NDA lacks coordination. The distribution of seats should be made clear first so that the allies can prepare properly for the elections.

Courtesy: National Herald India

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