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Nitish Kumar praises PM’s projects in rallies, Oppn says JD(U)-BJP to merge

The JD(U) said since the NDA was contesting elections under the leadership of Narendra Modi there must not be any surprise if his name comes more often during election speeches.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 15, 2019 17:02 IST
Aditya Nath Jha
Aditya Nath Jha
Hindustan Times, Seemanchal/Kosi
Lok Sabha elections 2019,General elections 2019,Lok Sabha election campaign
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses an election campaign rally in Purnia. (PTI)

On campaign trail in Seemanchal and Kosi which have six Parliamentary seats, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seems to have changed tack as he lists Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development initiatives instead of his own government’s achievements.

Of the six seats, candidates form Kumar’s Janata Dal (U) are contesting five seats while the BJP is contesting one seat. Seemanchal and Kosi go to polls in the second and third phases on April 18 and April 23.

Nitish Kumar’s campaign includes addressing two to three election rallies almost daily and holding talks with local NDA leaders at Madhepura where he has been camping since April 9.

In every election meeting, the JD (U) leader praises Narendra Modi, declaring him the only leader upholding the interests of Bihar. “India in general and Bihar in particular is secured and bound to flourish under Modiji’s regime,” Kumar says while addressing election meetings in Seemanchal where Muslims have substantial population in all the four Parliamentary constituencies.

Earlier Kumar used to enumerate his development schemes first, which has taken backseat during the last few days.

Opposition alliance leaders say Nitish Kumar’s speeches are an indication of an imminent merger of the JD (U) with the BJP.

“If you observe Nitish Kumar’s speech, you will find that his merger with BJP is closer. Sensing fear of defeat Kumar is shifting towards BJP and banking on its hardliner policy,” State Congress Party spokesperson B K Thakur said.

A senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tej Narayan Yadav of Madhepura said, “Nitish Kumar has understood that Muslims are drifting from him and hence he is banking on Hindu votes. This is the reason for his sudden inclination towards Narendra Modi and leaving behind his developmental agenda.”

The NDA has rubbished the opposition’s claims saying there was nothing new in the chief minister’s praise of Modi.

“Nitishji has been pro-development and he and the Prime Minister have carried out the same mission of development,” BJP’s Purnia district president P R Verma said.

Madhepura’s senior JD (U) leader B B Prabhakar said, “We are contesting elections under the leadership of Narendra Modi who is a leader with clear vision for India and there must not be any surprise if his name comes more often during election speeches.”

Three districts of Seemanchal Purnia, Katihar and Kishanganj go to polls on April 18 whereas Araria (Seemanchal), Madhepura and Supaul (both in Kosi) will go to polls on April 23.

The JD (U) has fielded candidates in Purnia, Katihar, Kishanganj, Madhepura and Supaul seats. On four of the five seats barring Madhepura, JD (U) candidates are in direct contest with Congress candidates while on Madhepura seat there is a triangular contest as sitting Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav has jumped into arena as an independent candidate to take on RJD’s Sharad Yadav and JD (U)’s Dinesh Chandra Yadav.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 17:02 IST