Patna: Both Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar will be the faces of the NDA in the 2019 election, Bihar JDU president Bashishtha Narayan Singh said on Thursday in what was interpreted as a signal that the chief minister has clinched a deal with the Prime Minister’s BJP.
JDU leaders seemed sure that the sudden warmth between the two allies meant that Nitish has sealed the deal with the BJP on the number of seats his party will contest. “Nobody in the party knows about the numbers but we are sure that the deal has been struck and it will be announced at the appropriate time,” remarked a JDU legislator stressing that only Nitish Kumar and BJP president Amit Shah would know the exact numbers.
Ever since the BJP and JDU joined hands again in 2017, there has been wrangling about who the big brother in the alliance is.
“When chief minister Nitish Kumar announced his seven resolves it was adopted by the Grand Alliance and now that we are in the NDA it has been adopted again. When the BJP fights elections it has to go to the people with the achievement card of Nitish Kumar,” said a JDU minister, stressing that there was no problem over seat sharing. “Besides, after desertion by allies like the TDP and Shiv Sena, Nitish Kumar becomes all the more important in north India,” he added.
The JDU after rejoining NDA has had to face taunts from the Grand Alliance partners who have been saying that the JDU would not get seats in double digits. The JDU, sources said, had sent messages to the BJP leadership in Delhi that it wanted an “honourable” number of seats in the Lok Sabha. After the one to one meeting between Nitish and Shah, there had been talks about a deadline for the announcement of the seat sharing.
“We had never given a deadline,” the JDU insider said. “We know that the number will be in the double digits as there are eight seats which are not won by NDA partners.”
The state BJP leadership, sources said, has also being advocating maintaining an alliance with Nitish at all cost. That is why the alliance fielded its own Kushwaha leader, Samrat Choudhary, to counter Union minister Upendra Kushwaha when he began criticising Nitish and demanding another NDA face for the post of chief minister.
“We would like to keep all the four NDA parties together in the 2019 polls, but if the RLSP decides to switch over to the Grand Alliance we will still have Nitish and Paswan – leaders who can influence votes,” said a senior BJP leader.
The BJP, he added, will not push the RLSP. “But if Upendra wants to go we will not stop him.”
Courtesy: The Telegraph