statesman news service
PATNA, 12 JUNE: With a parting of the ways with the BJP almost a foregone conclusion, the JD-U is said to be working on a strategy to split the saffron camp in Bihar to boost its own numbers and as a figurative thumbing of the nose to its long-time partner after the latter’s elevation of Gujarat chief minister, and Mr Nitish Kumar’s bete noir, Mr Narendra Modi, as chief of its campaign committee for the next general elections.
JD-U insiders said party strategists are in touch with the BJP legislators and top leaders to persuade them to switch sides. Promises of plum posts are said to have been made, including the post of the deputy chief minister, in return for their revolt. Incidentally, the current deputy chief minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Modi, who was known to have a good equation with Mr Nitish Kumar, is apparently no longer in the latter’s good books, after he began singing paens in praise of the Gujarat chief
The JD-U&’s plan, it is said, is to deal a body blow to the party which handed Mr Modi the key responsibility of the party’s election campaign. While the BJP&’s position is that Mr Modi&’s anointment as the BJP&’s election campaign committee chairman is the party’s “internal matter”, the JD-U suspects that this is a precursor to ultimately declaring him as the NDA&’s prime ministerial candidate, despite Mr Nitish Kumar’s and the JD-U’s frequently voiced objections. The JD-U has also reached out to the Independent legislators and sought their support in running the government in the event of split with the BJP. Of the six Independents in the state Assembly, two, namely singer-turned-politician Mr Binay Bihari and Mr Pawan Jaiswal have already pledged support to the JD-U after meeting the JD-U leadership today. The party has also sent feelers to the “secular” parties, such as the Congress, to seek their support. The Congress, however, said it would consider the proposal only when the JD-U makes a formal announcement of its split with the BJP. Right now, there is no threat to the Nitish Kumar government as the JD-U which has 118 members in the House is just four short of majority mark of 122 in the 243-member Bihar assembly. The BJP, on other hand, has 91 members in the Assembly. Sources said the JD-U has almost made up its mind to finally break away from the BJP and a final announcement is likely to be made in the next few days after the chief minister returns to Patna on 15 June after his two-day seva yatra to Katihar. The party has already directed its all legislator to be in Patna on 15 June. The chief minister remained closeted with senior party leaders at his official residence at 1 Anne Marg till late in the night on Tuesday, during which he held several rounds of talks discussing the possible split with the BJP and its likely consequences.
What the JD-U has planned became more clear today when a senior party leader, state agriculture minister Mr Narendra Singh declared Mr Modi was not acceptable as leader of the NDA. “Mr Modi’s leading the NDA in 2014 general elections is not acceptable to the JD-U. We are totally against the man whose complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots has been proved,” Mr Singh told the media. He however added that the party would have no problem if the BJP review its decision and declares Mr L K Advani as the leader of the NDA. The BJP reacted sharply, saying there was no question of going back on Mr Modi. Party leaders questioned the JD-U&’s rationale behind raising such questions a decade after the Gujarat riots and said they were ready to sit in the Opposition. The BJP&’s national VP, Dr C P Thakur, speaking to the media, also advised Mr Kumar to resign from his post on moral grounds in case he plans to end the alliance and seek a fresh mandate saying the mandate was given by the voters in NDA&’s favour, and not any particular party.

‘Will see to it that alliance not broken’
PATNA, 12 JUNE: With key ally JD-U signalling parting ways with the NDA, Bihar BJP core committee today held a hurriedly convened meeting at the residence of deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi to take stock of the situation. Post meeting, BJP state president Mangal Pandey told reporters that the party was in favour of continuation of the alliance and would be the “last to go for a break-up”. The meeting decided that until Mr Sharad Yadav, CM Nitish Kumar or state JD-U chief Bashist Narayan Singh come out with a statement, the BJP will not consider assertions of other members as that party’s “decision,” Mr Pandey said. “This is against coalition dharma,” he said, while commenting on the scathing attacks by JD-U leaders like Shivanand Tiwari and state Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh on Modis’ elevation. pti