Though a BJP ally now, JD (U) to up presence in all 40 Bihar Lok Sabha constituencies
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Though a BJP ally now, JD (U) to up presence in all 40 Bihar Lok Sabha constituencies

The move assumes significance against the backdrop of reports suggesting the BJP intended to contest no less than 25 seats, out of the 40 in the state, despite having JD (U) back as its NDA partner. 

patna Updated: Sep 24, 2017 22:28 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar JD (U),Executive meet,Nitish Kumar
JD (U) chief and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (right) with other party leaders at a meeting in Patna on Sunday. (AP Dube/HT photo)

As the BJP gears up to improve its individual tally in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll and, by implication, likely to leave fewer seats for its allies, the JD (U), back to being its NDA ally in Bihar, is planning on some rearguard action of its own to retain or expand its electoral space.

At its state executive committee meeting here on Sunday, the JD (U) decided to brace its organisational set up in all the 40 LS seats in Bihar, down to the booth level, to fortify itself for a better bargaining position ahead of the 2019 parliamentary polls.

“The party has decided to start working for strengthening its organisational structure for the upcoming parliamentary polls, on all the 40 LS seats,” said party national general secretary and leader of JD (U) in Rajya Sabha RCP Singh.

The move to assumes significance against the backdrop of reports doing the rounds that the BJP intended to contest no less than 25 seats, out of the 40 in the state, despite having JD (U) as its new alliance partner in the NDA.

Armed with the requisite resource and an effective organisational set, the BJP has indicated that not more than seven (or a maximum of nine) seats will be spared for the JD (U), four for the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and two for the union minister Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok samata Party (RLSP).

The BJP had contested 31 seats out of total 40 seats in the 2014 Lok sabha poll and won 22.Its allies had won another nine (LJP-6 and RLSP-3).

Sharing the outcome of state executive committee meeting, Singh said that district level conferences in all 38 districts of Bihar would be held between November 15 and 18 and the task of appointing booth level agents would be completed in the next two months.

Concern over neglect of party’s organisational set up in the districts, under the charge of ministers belonging to its erstwhile grand alliance partners, the RJD and Congress, was also raised at the meeting in the presence of national president and chief minister Nitish Kumar.

The meeting was attended by district presidents, MLAs, MLCs, MPs and ministers.

Fourteen JD (U) ministers, in-charge of overseeing governmental schemes and party activities in their respective districts, have now been asked to keep a tab also on organisational work in remaining districts, under the charge of BJP ministers, he said.

The sense of urgency to metamorphose the organisation into a well oiled battle ready outfit was evident from state JD (U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh’s remark that several steps were beingtaken the last two months and Sunday’s meeting was more of a review of the outcome.

Though party spokesmen were scheduled to brief the media, the state president along with two national general secretaries, including Sanjay Jha, and senior minister Lallan Singh, took on the task upon themselves. “We have made 1.54 lakh active members till date,” the state president said.

Aware of the need to shore up party coffers, RCP Singh said, “we have decided to seek voluntary contributions from party workers in November-December, on a yearly basis.”

Also acutely conscious of the fact that the BJP would apportion its carefully crafted development agenda by playing out PM Narendra Modi’s achievements on a grander scale, the JD (U) is looking for a new niche. It has decided to build on the success of prohibition and tree plantation to project itself as a vehicle for social change.

Now, playing an active role in the roll out of the campaign against child marriage and dowry is high on its agenda.

First Published: Sep 24, 2017 22:28 IST