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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Amid talks of face-off with BJP, Nitish says won’t campaign in Jharkhand for assembly election

On Tuesday, Nitish Kumar’s senior party colleague and Munger MP Lallan Singh had announced in Ranchi that, if needed, the Bihar CM might campaign for Saryu Roy, who quit days ago as Jharkhand’s food and supply minister, if the latter requested for the same.

assembly-elections Updated: Nov 21, 2019 13:39 IST
B Vijay Murty
B Vijay Murty
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said he won’t campaign for the Jharkhand assembly election.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said he won’t campaign for the Jharkhand assembly election. (HT Photo )
         

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said he would not campaign in Jharkhand for the assembly elections, thus discounting the possibility of a direct face-off between his party JD(U) and ally BJP that was fuelled the previous day by one of his senior ministers who claimed the party chief could go to Jamshedpur (East) in support of Saryu Roy, the former minister in the Raghubar Das government who has now challenged the chief minister in the latter’s constituency after quitting BJP days ago.

Responding to queries by reporters on the Jharkhand polls on the sidelines of an event in Patna, Kumar said, “There is no requirement of mine in Jharkhand.”

The JD(U) has decided to contest majority of the 81 seats in Jharkhand.

On Tuesday, Kumar’s senior party colleague and Munger MP Lallan Singh had announced in Ranchi that, if needed, the Bihar CM might campaign for Saryu Roy, who quit days ago as Jharkhand’s food and supply minister, if the latter requested for the same.

“We will extend all possible support to Roy. Each one of us will camp in Jamshedpur, if need be. He has always been raising his voice against corruption. As a gesture and support to him, we have already withdrawn our candidate from there,” Singh has said at a press conference, triggering talks of a face-off between allies JD(U) and the BJP.

On Wednesday, senior JD (U) and BJP leaders were cautious.

JD (U)’s national general secretary, K C Tyagi said that since he was unaware of the statement made by Lallan Singh, he would not comment. “I would suggest you better speak to him,” he said.

Another JD (U) spokesperson Sanjay Singh also preferred not to speak anything on the issue when contacted.

BJP Spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan too declined comment.

On his part, Saryu Roy himself said he had not made any request to Nitish Kumar to campaign for him. “I am yet to speak to him on the issue,” he said, much to relief of the Bihar CM.

JD (U) leaders had made it clear in the past that their primary objective was to attain the national party status for which they needed at least six per cent of vote share from a minimum of four states. Hence, the party decided to make a foray into Jharkhand and Delhi polls in a big way.

The JD (U) has the requisite share from two states, Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh, but it narrowly missed the target in Nagaland. JD (U) is a recognised party in Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh.

According to the criteria set by the Election Commission of India (ECI), a national party needs to get at least 6% of the votes from a minimum of four states, or 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three states, or it should be recognised as a state party in at least four states. At present, there are six recognized national parties in India.