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Nitish Kumar to be face of NDA in Bihar for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, says JD(U) leader

The assertion comes days after the recent electoral reverses triggered the question on whether the ‘Modi magic’ was on the wane.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2018 10:11 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Nitish Kumar,NDA,JDU
The JD(U) wants to get the “maximum mileage and full dividends” out of Nitish Kumar’s image for the NDA.(Arijit Sen/HT File Photo)

The JD(U) has said that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar would be the face of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar.

“Nitish Kumar will be the face of the NDA in Bihar for the Lok Sabha elections,” K C Tyagi, JD(U) national general secretary and spokesperson, said on Sunday, apparently admitting that the ground realities had changed since 2014, when Narendra Modi had single-handedly steered the NDA to victory in the Lok Sabha polls, both in the state and the country.

The assertion from the JD(U) camp, after four-hour-long discussions between senior leaders and Kumar at his residence in Patna on Sunday, comes days after the recent electoral reverses triggered the question on whether the ‘Modi magic’ was on the wane.

Tyagi recently called for a tweak in the BJP’s strategy, after the NDA lost the Jokihat bypoll to RJD, saying that the BJP-led NDA needed to reinvent its strategy.

Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP, another NDA partner, had also flagged the lack of coordination among allies.

When asked whether there was no dispute on Kumar’s stature in the NDA camp in Bihar, Tyagi said, “Our concern is to get the maximum mileage and full dividends out of his image for the NDA.”

Another national general secretary of the party, Pavan K Varma, who along with Prashant Kishor, chief strategist of the Grand Alliance in the 2015 state assembly polls, is learnt to have attended the meeting, said: “Kumar is the tallest leader and the BJP, LJP and RLSP will have to approach the LS polls under his leadership.”

Tyagi said his party was confident of a smooth seat sharing process and that the JD(U) would get an honourable share in the process.

On Saturday, RLSP’s Kushwaha had called for an early settlement of the seat sharing exercise.

However, his party’s rebel MP Arun Kumar on Sunday tried to play down the JD(U)’s announcement on the leadership and seat sharing issue, terming it “pre-poll muscle flexing”.

The JD(U), which has once again started raising the special state status demand, is also intensifying efforts to expand the party’s national footprint and will try to register its presence in the three states that go to polls this year: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The party wants to do away with the tag of being a blind follower of the BJP and send out a message that it is not on a weak footing.

Varma, who dubbed Sunday’s meeting as “routine”, said that the leadership discussed ways and means for expanding the party’s organisation and strengthening it ahead of the polls.

First Published: Jun 04, 2018 10:11 IST