PATNA: BJP president Amit Shah met Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar twice on Thursday and dropped ample hints that the saffron party values JD(U) as an important ally to attain the aim of securing a thumping victory for NDA in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Shah, who was on a daylong tour of Patna to review BJP’s poll preparedness and expansion initiatives, met Kumar over breakfast and dinner. In his address to BJP’s vistaraks (expansion workers) and social media volunteers, he said his party’s alliance with JD(U) would continue and that NDA would win all the 40 LS seats in Bihar.
With JD(U) having been grumbling lately over seat-sharing for the LS polls, Shah allayed the regional party’s apprehensions by praising it highly and indicating that BJP may walk the extra mile to keep JD(U) on board.
“Chandrababu Naidu left NDA, but what difference did it make? Nitish Kumar came back with us,” said Shah. “Our alliance with Nitish Kumar will continue in Bihar. He joined hands with BJP because he was unable to stay with the corrupt people. Our alliance will win all 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar and form the NDA government under the leadership of the popular PM Narendra Modi at the Centre,” he added.
Dismissing reports about smouldering disagreements between BJP and JD(U) over seat-sharing, Shah said: “Some people are busy making wild speculations about distribution of seats. Let them keep drooling. JD(U) will remain in NDA. BJP knows how to respect and manage its allies.”
He mocked at efforts by the Opposition parties to unite against NDA. “The entire Opposition is getting together wishing to defeat BJP. Lalu Prasad Yadav is in alliance with Congress in Bihar, and Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav are coming together in UP. But we had defeated Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Yadav, Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition parties in 2014. We will win with more seats in 2019 and Narendra Modi will become PM again,” he said.
Attacking Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi, Shah said: “Rahul baba is visiting places and asking what the Modi government did in the past four years. He has no right to ask. The country is asking him what four generations of his family did”.
Shah slammed Gandhi for questioning the surgical strike against terror hubs and said: “Since he (Gandhi) has relations with Lalu Prasad Yadav, he will appreciate only fodder and not a military operation of this nature”.
Nitish Kumar and Shah were all smiles both at the breakfast at the state guest house and at the dinner at the CM’s official residence. BJP and JD(U) leaders were excited to see the bonhomie between the two leaders.
Sources said while the two leaders had a brief discussion about Bihar’s political situation over breakfast, they reached a “broad understanding” on seat-sharing at dinner. “The BJP chief conveyed to the CM that distribution of seats would not be allowed to hamper ties between the two allies,” said a JD(U) leader.
The Opposition RJD and Congress pooh-poohed the Shah-Kumar meeting. “JD(U) is adamant on being acknowledged and respected as the big bother in Bihar’s NDA. It can happen only if JD(U) gets more seats to contest in the LS polls than BJP, and it is not going to happen despite such stunts for the media,” said RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary.