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‘It is all hot air’: Nitish Kumar says JD(U)’s issues with BJP over Lok Sabha polls will be sorted out in time

Nitish Kumar, who indicated that the JD(U)’s alliance with the BJP would depend on the seat sharing formula for the Lok Sabha, is set to meet BJP president Amit Shah in Patna on July 12.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2018 22:40 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Patna/New Delhi
Nitish Kumar,JD(U),Lok Sabha election
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar CM and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar during the Champaran Satyagrah Centenary celebration at Gandhi Maidan in Motihari, Bihar, in April 2018.(AP Dube/HT File Photo)

A day after he made a combative address at his party’s meeting in New Delhi, Bihar chief minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on Monday said issues with the BJP related to the Lok Sabha polls would be sorted out in time and that there was no problem between the two allies.

With BJP president Amit Shah set to meet Kumar in Patna on July 12, the saffron party leaders also played down reports of differences between the two allies and expressed confidence that they will fight the elections together.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of his weekly public interaction programme ‘Lok Samvad’ in the state, Kumar asserted that any question of his party becoming a part of an anti-BJP alliance elsewhere did not arise.

“I am sitting here alongside (Deputy Chief Minister) Sushil Kumar Modi. It is amply clear that the government is functioning well and there is no problem between the two parties,” he said. Sushil Kumar Modi is the BJP’s senior most leader in the state government.

Asked about reports of differences among the NDA partners over allocation of Lok Sabha seats in the state, he said, “I do not wish to comment on what has been going on in the media. It is all hot air. All the issues relating to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be sorted out in the due course of time and the outcome would be made public. There is no hurry.”

The then NDA parties – BJP, Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP and Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP – had contested 30, seven and three seats respectively in the 2014 elections, winning 22, six and three of them.

The entry of JD(U) in the alliance has made the division of seats tricky as many of its leaders projected their party as the biggest NDA constituent on account of their strength in the assembly.

Kumar’s party had contested 25 seats and the BJP 15 in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when they were allies.

He confirmed his meeting with Shah on July 12 but did not elaborate on the agenda.

BJP sources expressed confidence that the meeting will help iron out differences between the two parties.

A BJP leader claimed that his party did not see any serious difference with the JD(U), and the tricky issue of seat-sharing will be thrashed out amicably among their top leadership.

In his address at his party’s national executive meeting, Kumar had asserted that he would always oppose corruption, crime and communalism, and those thinking of marginalising his party would stand marginalised.

His remarks appeared to be aimed at a section of BJP leaders from Bihar who have been linked with incidents of communal tensions and violence.

In Patna today, Kumar said Union minister Giriraj Singh’s meeting with jailed Bajrang Dal activists in Nawada district was “not acceptable” and made it clear that his government would not tolerate any attempts to disturb communal harmony in the state.

Asked about the JD(U)’s announcement that it will contest the upcoming assembly polls in a number of states, Kumar said it was done in the past too as its alliance with the BJP is limited to Bihar.

“We have done so earlier. We fought and won a seat in Nagaland ( in February this year). We contested in Karnataka (in May last). This creates no problems or confusion as it has always been our stated position that the alliance between JD(U) and BJP is limited to Bihar,” he said.

Asked about the chances of having a fresh alliance with the Congress, Kumar evaded a direct reply. Some Congress leaders in Bihar are said to have pushed for Kumar’s return to the anti-BJP alliance. Congress in-charge of the state Shakti Singh Gohil had recently backed Kumar’s demand for special category status for Bihar.

First Published: Jul 09, 2018 20:38 IST