September 20, 2020

BJP springs to Nitish defence

Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar may be under fire over the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes but ally BJP is not going to arm-twist him over it, at least for now.

The Bihar BJP on Monday defended Nitish when BJP leaders C.P. Thakur and Gopal Narayan Singh (both Rajya Sabha members) demanded that social welfare minister Manju Verma should resign as the name of her husband had cropped up in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case.

Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters that the views of “few leaders” were individual opinions and not the party line.

Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai echoed Modi, saying that if anyone seeks Manju’s resignation, it might be his or her personal opinion, but “the party does not subscribe to such opinions”.

BJP spokesperson Manoj Sharma issued a press statement: “The demand for resignation of social welfare minister Manju Verma… was not justified because there is no allegation against her. How far is it justifiable to demand someone’s resignation by levelling baseless allegations?”

BJP sources hinted that the party central leadership was in favour of keeping the NDA flock intact at least till the 2019 general election.

“One has to keep ground realities in mind,” a senior BJP leader said under cover of anonymity. “Our main opponent, the RJD-Congress combine, has a strong support base of Muslim-Yadav voters who comprise over 25 per cent of the electorate in Bihar. This combination will try to add more votes and hence we don’t want to give our opponents any space for expansion.”

The party will do nothing to hurt the sentiments of the JDU and the LJP, two main allies of the BJP in Bihar which have their own vote bank, the BJP leader said.

“While Ram Vilas Paswan has an undisputed sway over the Paswan voters who constitute about 6 per cent of the voters, the JDU, which got just two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, got about 16 per cent of the vote share. Why would we do anything to disturb such a support base which would come to the NDA kitty?” the BJP leader asked.

Another senior BJP leader said that though the central leadership will decide on seat-sharing for 2019, the BJP would not do anything that could force its alliance partners to even think of other options.

“Our understanding is that both the JDU and the LJP would get respectable offers in terms of seats,” said this leader.

Every effort will be made to keep the RLSP in the NDA but the BJP may let it go in case the Upendra Kushwaha-led party cannot reconcile with the JDU being given its due share in the NDA, the leader added.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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