No threat to NDA govt in Bihar, all matters being sorted out: RCP Singh
RCP Singh, the newly appointed national president of ruling Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), has dismissed speculation about the future of chief minister Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun asserting itself as the biggest party of the grouping. In an interview, Singh insisted the government does not face any threats and issues among NDA alliance partners will be amicably resolved. Edited excerpts:
How challenging is your new role given your party now has lesser lawmakers than the BJP?
The confidence level is not low. The numbers do not always matter. The [Bihar assembly election] results have been below par due to a number of factors. We are analysing everything. JD (U) remains a party with strong footprints in Bihar as well as a few other states like Arunachal Pradesh and Jharkhand. It has a charismatic leader [Kumar], who works for inclusive development. We are working on strengthening the party further.
The BJP poached your lawmakers in Arunachal and due to a wafer-thin majority in Bihar, there could be a threat to your government too... the Rashtriya Janata Dal still hopes to form the government...
In Arunachal, the BJP had a majority on its own. But six of our lawmakers switched over apparently lured by power and prospects of getting posts. JD (U) had no alliance with the BJP there. Such a thing also happened in Nagaland. But these things will not make any difference to Bihar. Here NDA is old and both the BJP and the JD (U) have been together for years.
Do you see any threat to the NDA government in Bihar?
The NDA has the numbers. It also has the support of Independents and the Lok Janshakti Party. There is no threat to the government, which has started working on its promises. The opposition is daydreaming. The first priority for the government is free Covid-19 vaccination. Our state executive meeting is also scheduled for January 9-10, where we will reassess the organisational situation. A tall leader like Nitish Kumar, who walks the talk, makes a huge difference. Our leader has a reputation not only in the state but at the national level. That is a big advantage for the party to build on. People trust him not because he talks, but because he delivers. I have been with Kumar for 23 years and I know he is one who cannot compromise with his ideology and principles. Ideology is what makes a party. We have remained with our ideology all through.
Why is there a delay in cabinet expansion...?
The expansion will happen and there is no confusion. It is natural that the BJP being the larger party will have a larger share. The ministries have been allotted to all four constituents. ...it will happen at the right time. It is for all the alliance partners to decide who they want in the cabinet. ...Union cabinet [expansion] is the Prime Minister’s prerogative. All parties want to have a bigger share. In a coalition, all sides need to respect each other’s sentiments.
Why are 12 nominations to the legislative council stuck?
The seats have been vacant since May 2020. [The issue] will also be resolved amicably. The opposition is unnecessarily trying to find fissures. Talks will happen in this regard soon. In the NDA, the relationship is built on trust. Who gets how many will be decided once talks get underway?
Will JD (U) also contest elections in West Bengal and Assam?
We do want to spread our footprints, but a decision in this regard will be taken on the basis of the reassessment by the party’s state units. We do not want to fight just for the sake of it. We will like to fight to win. Wherever the organisational base is strong, the party will take feedback and accordingly decide.
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