October 28, 2020

Nitish Kumar’s ‘Bihar Plus’ plan: JD(U) looks to spread wings in other BJP-ruled states amid strain in ties

Nitish Kumar, Janata Dal United, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bihar, NDA seat sharing, 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Amit Shah, LJP, RLSPThe Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar is planning big to spread its reach outside Bihar when the country goes to polls in 2019. Amidst reports about JD(U) resorting to different tactics to mount pressure on the BJP to initiate the seat-sharing talks with NDA partners, the party now apparently wants to contest some seats in Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. This, The Indian Express reported, is a part of Nitish Kumar’s ‘Bihar Plus’ plan.

The development comes even as the rift between the JD(U) and the BJP continues to widen with no development reported on the seat-sharing front yet. Party national spokesperson KC Tyagi said that the JD(U) is expecting a ‘respectable number of seats’ in Bihar from the BJP and also wants the saffron party to use maximum services of Nitish Kumar in next Lok Sabha elections outside the state as well.

“The BJP must make most of the services of Nitish Kumar in Lok Sabha, not just in Bihar but also in other states,” the JD(U) leader said.

“We should be given a respectable number of seats in Bihar and also some seats in states like Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan to support our Bihar Plus idea,” he added.

Tyagi also dropped hints that the results of 2009 Lok Sabha and 2010 Assembly polls should be taken into consideration while finalising the number of seats. He said that the BJP should remember the NDA’s good show under Kumar’s leadership in 2009 and 2010 polls.

“Whether we should contest on more or equal numbers would be discussed at the top level. We are only reminding the BJP of NDA’s show under Nitish Kumar in the 2009 Lok Sabha and the 2010 Assembly polls.”

BJP president Amit Shah is set visit Bihar next month for talks on the seat-sharing issue. Notably, Shah was to visit Bihar last month too but skipped Bihar during his Sampark for Samarthan campaign that saw him visit Mumbai and Punjab recently.

Before 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP and JD(U) had contested elections together but after Kumar’s exit, the BJP contested elections in partnership with LJP and RLSP. In 2009, the JD(U) and BJP had contested elected on 25:15 ratio. The JD(U) had won 20 seats whereas the BJP had won 12 seats. In 2010 assembly polls, while the JD(U) had contested 141 seats and won 115, the BJP had fielded candidates on remaining 102 seats and won 91 seats.

Tyagi also said that the JD(U) is expecting BJP president Amit Shah and Nitish Kumar to sort out ‘critical issues’ well in advance. Shah is slated to visit Bihar in the second week of July.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Kumar’s deputy Sushil Kumar Modi said that the alliance is intact. “Seat-sharing talks are done at the highest level. Our alliance is as strong as ever.”

Courtesy: FE Online

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