Patna: The BJP on Thursday rubbished RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha’s suggestion a day ago that chief minister Nitish Kumar should step down and make way for a new face as Bihar chief ministerial candidate in 2020.
“The BJP is not agreeable to any personal opinion of some NDA leaders replacing Nitish Kumar in 2020,” senior BJP leader and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi tweeted. Asked to elaborate on the point he was raising through his tweet, Sushil said he had already tweeted what he had to say.
Sources in the BJP said the party’s central leadership was averse to creating any problems in the NDA in Bihar and stood for presenting a united face during the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2019. “Our central leadership is very clear on the alliance issue. Our alliance with the JDU is time-tested and the leadership stands for strengthening it,” said a BJP functionary.
Another senior functionary of the party said that during his recent visit to Bihar, party president Amit Shah had categorically instructed state leaders not to issue any statement that could hurt the sentiments of NDA constituents and we are following that.”
In fact, the BJP has been trying hard to quell all speculation that its alliance with the JDU might get toppled on the seat-sharing issue.
Even Amit Shah, during his address to party workers in Patna on July 12, had spoken in a similar vein. “Some people are waiting for a rift in the alliance. They are salivating at such a prospect. Nothing like this would happen. Nitish ji is with us and the NDA will win all 40 seats in Bihar,” Shah had said.
Sources in the JDU said the party too wanted to continue its alliance and was hopeful of getting an honourable deal during seat-sharing talks. “We don’t pay much heed to what other constituents say as our main alliance is with the BJP. Those waiting for any problem in the NDA in Bihar would remain disappointed,” said a senior JDU leader.
As far as the RLSP is concerned, it is an open secret in Bihar that its leader Upendra Kushwaha does not enjoy a very good rapport with Nitish. While speaking to a TV news channel on Wednesday, Kushwaha had said that 15 years was a long period and Nitish should step down and make someone else the chief ministerial candidate for 2020.
The RLSP leader, who is a minister at the Centre, had also not hidden his own ambition to be chief minister.
Courtesy: The Telegraph