BJP campaign committee chief Narendra Modi should choose Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s native Nalanda as his constituency if he decides to contest polls from outside Gujarat, a top party leader has said.
“I have made this suggestion to Narendra bhai and argued that this will send out a positive message to party workers in Bihar,” said BJP national vice president CP Thakur on Sunday.
With this, Nalanda became the third Lok Sabha seat, after Lucknow and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, to be touted as the Gujarat chief minister’s constituency if he were to contest election from outside his own state.
Thakur, a former BJP state president, even went on to insist that many BJP workers here felt Modi was “more popular” in Bihar “than even in his native state”.
These remarks drew a sharp response from Janata Dal (United) MP Shivanand Tiwari.
“We heard earlier Modi will contest from Lucknow and Varanasi. Now, the name of Nalanda has cropped up. I can’t think why,” he said.
Tiwari said if Modi were to really ‘quit’ Gujarat to contest a Lok Sabha seat from someplace else, it would be seen as a sign he was “losing his grip” over his own state.
Many in the BJP were also of the view that Thakur’s ‘Modi for Nalanda’ call was meant more to serve as a ‘pinprick’ for the JD (U) than having any basis in reality.
“Nalanda is a pocket borough of Nitish Kumar and the BJP has little chance of poaching it,” admitted a senior state BJP office-bearer on the condition of anonymity.
The leader recalled that former JD (U) president George Fernandes had represented Nalanda in the Lok Sabha but only till such time as Kumar wanted him to.
“In 2009, he put up a JD (U) worker, Kaushalendra Kumar, for the seat and he won too,” he added.
A member of the Bihar legislative council at present, the Bihar chief minister’s erstwhile Harnaut assembly constituency is a segment of the Nalanda Lok Sabha seat.