PATNA: A day after winning a fresh mandate to rule Bihar, NDA leaders on Wednesday started putting their heads together to form the new government led by Nitish Kumar, though his JD(U) will be the junior partner with 43 seats as against the BJP’s 74.
While the BJP is understandably keen on government formation, the JD(U) doesn’t quite share the enthusiasm, amid indications the new ministry could be sworn in only after Diwali (Nov 14) or even after the Chhath festival (Nov 19-20).
For, the JD(U) first wants the BJP to send a clear no-nonsense message by ejecting the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) from the central NDA before government formation, it is reliably learnt.
It was the LJP that deliberately damaged the JD(U)’s chances across the state and hurt the BJP to a lesser extent in some seats, indirectly benefiting the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
The LJP had dropped out of the state NDA barely weeks before polling.
For the record though, JD(U)’s senior spokesperson Dr Ajay Alok denied setting terms on purging the central NDA of the LJP. He, however, said the new government is likely to be formed after Diwali.
As for who will lead the new government, there was no ambiguity. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the NDA will stick to its pre-poll announcement of Nitish Kumar staying as chief minister.
The BJP expects a bigger share of power with proportional representation in the new ministry. “A formal discussion over this between JD(U) and BJP leaders has already been held,” a BJP leader said.