‘No alliance yet’: Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) rebuts Gujarat party on pre-poll pact | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘No alliance yet’: Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) rebuts Gujarat party on pre-poll pact

Nov 08, 2022 05:27 PM IST

Gujarat assembly elections: The JD (U) brief statement comes a day after reports that BTP’s Chhotubhai Vasava announced a pre-poll alliance with JD (U) for Gujarat elections

PATNA: Gujarat’s Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) has reached out to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to fight the Gujarat elections scheduled for early December in an alliance but the Janata Dal-United or JD (U) has not taken a decision, people familiar with the matter said.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) said BTP leader Chhotubhai Vasava reached out with an offer for an alliance for Gujarat assembly elections but no decision has been taken (HT File Photo)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) said BTP leader Chhotubhai Vasava reached out with an offer for an alliance for Gujarat assembly elections but no decision has been taken (HT File Photo)

“The BTP president Chhotubhai Vasava contacted chief minister Nitish Kumar and party national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh aka Lalan Singh but there is no final decision,” JD (U) chief general secretary and chief spokesperson KC Tyagi told HT on Tuesday. The JD (U) fielded candidates in 28 Gujarat assembly segments in 2017 but didn’t win a single seat.

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Tyagi’s one-line response appeared to rebut BTP’s Chhotubhai Vasava who, according to a PTI report from Chanderia in Gujarat, went ahead to announce a pre-poll alliance with the JD (U). Vasava also declared that Nitish Kumar will campaign for his party in Gujarat.

To be sure, the BTP did announce a pre-poll alliance with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in May this year but the pact did not last even four months. Vasava unilaterally called it off in August and said his party will field candidates on all seats in the state.

Elections to Gujarat’s 182 seats are scheduled to be held in less than a month; on December 1 and 5.

Tyagi declined to elaborate on the conversation between Nitish Kumar and the BTP chief. Or the thinking within the party on its approach to the Gujarat elections. For now.

Other JD (U) leaders, however, linked the party’s reluctance to rush into an alliance to Nitish Kumar’s repeated emphasis on opposition unity. The Congress, with which the JD(U) is in alliance in Bihar, and AAP are already contesting Gujarat elections. “Under these circumstances, if the JD (U) throws its hat into the ring, it will kill the very idea of opposition unity,” said a senior JD (U) leader.

The only possibility of JD (U) contesting the elections is in case the BTP agrees to merge with JD (U). In such a situation, the JD (U) can discuss a seat-sharing formula with Congress.

Before Chhotubhai Vasava, a tribal leader, founded the BTP a month before the 2017 assembly elections, he was a member of the JD (U). In the 2017 elections, the BTP entered into an alliance with Congress and was allotted five seats. The party won two; Chhotubhai Vasava from the Jhagadia constituency in Bharuch and Mahesh Vasava, the party’s national president from Dediapada in the Narmada district.

The JD (U), which has been hoping to win enough seats outside Bihar to be classified by the Election Commission of India as a national party, has been contesting the Gujarat polls since 2002. But it has never managed to win more than two seats.

In 2002, the JD (U) contested 29 seats and won on 2 while 27 others forfeited their deposit. In 2007, the party contested 35 seats and won only one. In 2012, the JD (U) contested 85 seats and won one while in 2017, it didn’t win any of the 28 seats that it contested.

In 2007, two other Bihar parties, the Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal also contested on 12 and two seats respectively but didn’t win a single seat.

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