JD(U) for now stays with NDA, but Grand Alliance allurement remains

New Delhi: Knowing well that by living in the NDA fold, it can’t arm twist the BJP and its other allies in giving it 17-18 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in the 2019 parliamentary polls, the JD(U) has begun to undertake political posturing. JD(U) leader K C Tyagi on Sunday let the air on his party’s possible re-entry into the opposition-led grand alliance thickened by saying that it was ready to join it provided “the Congress clears its stand on a corrupt party like RJD.” This he said after the party’s executive meeting in Delhi. The JD(U) leader also said that his party will contest assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Manipur on its own, without the support of the BJP.
JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who held the party’s national executive meeting on Sunday, later held talks with Union Minister Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders in the national capital. On July 12, he is also expected to meet BJP chief Amit Shah when he visits Patna. Till then the JD(U) has given a feeling that it will wait. Several leaders of the Bihar-based party have demanded its preeminent position in the BJP-led NDA restored, a status it enjoyed in the alliance until 2013 when Kumar broke ties with the saffron party.
JD(U) leaders sought to downplay reports of strain in party’s ties with the BJP over the allotment of seats among the NDA parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and asserted that the ruling alliance will fight the election together and sweep it.
The BJP holds a stronger position in Bihar and had won 22 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. Its allies, Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP and Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP had six and three respectively. The JD(U) could barely manage two seats. However, the loss for JD-U was blamed on its grand alliance with the Congress and other parties in the state which was severed in 2017.
The party’s national executive at its meeting, attended by its top leaders including Kumar, also favoured simultaneous polls, a proposal being backed strongly by the Modi government. Leaders also reiterated the opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill that allows Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan to be eligible for Indian citizenship after a stay of six years.

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