Will not be part of NDA outside Bihar, says Nitish
PATNA: The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) Sunday decided not to be a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance outside Bihar. At its national executive meeting held at the residence of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, the party also decided to go it alone in the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Haryana and Delhi.
However, Nitish Kumar made it clear that JD(U) would fight the 2020 Assembly elections in Bihar in alliance with BJP.
"We refused central berths and had not put forth any names for them. Amit Shahji had called up Nitish (Kumar) ji multiple times in this regard and our CM said no to him every time," said Janata Dal (United) spokesperson KC Tyagi after the meeting.
The development comes amid tension between the alliance partners ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah offered a single berth to the JD(U) in the newly-formed NDA government. The party won 16 Lok Sabha seats in the recently concluded elections.
"Nitishji had batted for Narendra Modi's prime ministership in 171 public meetings before the elections. Hence, it is unfair to spread such rumours about him," Tyagi said.
Sunday's meeting was chaired by Nitish Kumar and attended by party vice-president Prashant Kishor, state presidents and other top leaders, including MPs and MLAs. Sources said Nitish Kumar appealed to the leaders to strengthen the party outside Bihar and focus on its month-long drive to recruit new members.
The national executive meeting came on the backdrop of Kishor holding talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
It had prompted Kumar to say that the political strategist would issue an explanation in this regard during Sunday's meeting.
"Kishor is associated with an election strategy organisation too. Whomsoever he works for under the banner of his organisation, it has nothing to do with our party. JD(U) has no relation with his work," he had said on Saturday.
Kishor – who helped out with the recent electoral success of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2015 – had met the Trinamool Congress supremo at Nabanna (state secretariat) in Kolkata on Friday.
Although TMC leaders were tight-lipped about the meeting, sources said the party has signed up Kishor to help it fight the BJP in West Bengal.