NEW DELHI: Putting an end to all speculations, the Janata Dal (U) has made it clear that it will not part ways with the BJP and will remain a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). However, the party said that it will take a final call on seat sharing in the state for 2019 general elections after seeing what the BJP has to offer.
In the national executive held on Sunday, the party has authorised its president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to finalise the party's stand on political issues, including the upcoming assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Seat sharing and growing stature of Nitish Kumar has been seen as reasons behind strain in ties between the JD (U) and BJP. Party leader K C Tyagi on Sunday said, “We aren't helping or supporting or opposing the BJP. The Janata Dal-United will fight elections in four states on its own."
He further said, “We fought in Gujarat, in Nagaland, in Karnataka on limited seats... We carry the political agenda of our party.”
According to political observers all is not well with the relationship between the two parties –BJP and JD (U). Lack of positive response from the Centre on special economic status for the state, which has been a key objective of the Bihar CM is one of the reasons. Apart from this, the party has not been considered in terms of cabinet seats in PM Narendra Modi's last reshuffle.
However, in its national executive meet held on Sunday, JD(U) leaders sought to play down reports of strain in its ties with the BJP over-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. “It will be decided later as to which party will contest how many seats. The NDA will fight the elections together and sweep the state,” its General Secretary Sanjay Kumar Jha said.
In his address at a closed-door meeting, Nitish Kumar said all efforts to eliminate and isolate our party will end up in isolation of those forces trying to do so, a party leader said.
Referring to comments of some Congress leaders who had hinted that they are willing to join hands with Kumar again if he breaks ties with the BJP, Tyagi said a debate over it is meaningless until the Congress ends its relationship with a "corrupt party" like the RJD.
Asked if the JD(U) would hold talks with the Congress if it snaps ties with the RJD, Tyagi said the Congress is unlikely to break its alliance with Prasad's party.
"Congress president Rahul Gandhi's lack of initiative against corruption cases involving the RJD leadership had buried any future for their alliance," Tyagi said.
The JD(U) also hit out at Union ministers Giriraj Singh and Jayant Sinha. While Singh met some persons accused of rioting and claimed that the state government was suppressing Hindus, Sinha had garlanded people convicted of lynching a man in Jharkhand's Ramgarh district. "We do not think what they have done is good. We condemn it," Tyagi said.
The JD (U) also favoured simultaneous polls, a proposal being backed strongly by the Modi government. It, however, called for evolving a consensus through talks with other parties, sources said. The executive also reiterated the party’s 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. Religion cannot be a basis for citizenship, it said.