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Janata Dal(U) hopeful of bigger national footprint

Janata Dal (United), with 16 seats, is the third largest partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). It was not part of the previous government but is expected to be part of Modi-led NDA government at the Centre this time.

india Updated: May 30, 2019 14:08 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
Janata Dal United,JDU,nitish kumar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar during the NDA parliamentary board meeting, at Central Hall of Parliament House, in New Delhi, Saturday, May 25, 2019. (PTI)

Members of the Janata Dal (United) national executive and newly elected MPs from Bihar met in New Delhi on Wednesday and discussed issues, including party’s performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

JD(U) is expected to be part of the national government after a gap of nearly 10 years. The party is likely to get two berths in the union cabinet. Janata Dal (United), with 16 seats, is the third largest partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). It was not part of the previous government.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, the party’s chief general secretary KC Tyagi said, “It is final that JD(U) is going to be a part of the Union cabinet. The names of MPs for Union cabinet berths from JD(U) will be decided by the party’s national president Nitish Kumar, while the portfolio will be decided by the Prime Minister.”

Tyagi said that Nitish was in constant touch with senior BJP leaders, including BJP national president Amit Shah, about the ministerial berths. Kumar met BJP national president Amit Shah on Wednesday.

“[Wednesday’s] meeting also decided to hold [the party’s] national executive in Patna on June 9 which will decide on organisational elections,” he added.

The party’s ambition to expand its national footprint got a boost in Arunachal Pradesh, even though it has performed badly in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Gujarat. In Nagaland, the party won one seat. In Assam, the party contested in four seats in collaboration with AIUDF, but could not win a single seat. In Kerala, where JD (U) contested seven seats under the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) by selling the prohibition success story of Bihar, it lost all seats, including those of two sitting MLAS.

Party leaders said that buoyed by success in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly elections, where the party won eight 8 out of 60 seats, JD(U) was mulling the possibility of contesting assembly polls in Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand. “The assembly polls in J&K and Jharkhand are due this year. The party will contest elections in these two states and other states where elections are due in near future,” said a leader.

The Nitish-led party has managed to increase its vote share in Bihar to 21.18%, up from 15.80% in 2014, but has to settle for one seat less than the BJP at 16, even as both parties contested 17 LS seats each in the state.

According to the criteria set by the Election Commission, 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.

First Published: May 30, 2019 14:07 IST