Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday, October 31, refuted any chance of his party Janata Dal- United, an ally of Bharatiya Janata Party, joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
A day before JD-U Principal General Secretary K C Tyagi had said that his party will consider joining the Union Cabinet without any hesitation if they get an invite from NDA leaders, particularly Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
"There is no such thing, it is baseless," Nitish Kumar said in a reply to the senior party leader Tyagi's statement.
Nitish Kumar's statement is being seen as a political message to BJP ahead of the next Bihar Assembly polls in 2020. The message is clear, Kumar’s party is not only crucial for BJP in the upcoming polls, but also wants to share power at the Centre like BJP is sharing power in Bihar.
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Kumar has also raised the old demand of special category status to Bihar soon after assuming control as JD-U national president for the second time. This has made it clear that he is open to play his own politics.
After JD-U won 16 of 17 seats it contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as an NDA ally, Nitish Kumar's party had refused to join the Modi-led government on the ground that it was offered only one berth in the cabinet. Political watchers said JD(U) had refused to join the Union Cabinet for being offered just symbolic representation. After being left high and dry by the top BJP leadership, Nitish Kumar had expanded his cabinet by inducting eight ministers from his party while not including any BJP leader. He later claimed that the BJP was offered a few positions on which the party was expected to take a decision later.
BJP had won 17 seats and another ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) won 6 seats. The NDA won 39 of 40 seats, while Congress managed to win one seat as part of the opposition Grand Alliance.
After that, the tussle between the two ruling parties was visibly stoked in July when the BJP leaders including MLAs opposed the Nitish Kumar government’s order to gather detailed information on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders and its subsidiary outfits.
In the past five months, a few senior BJP leaders have questioned Nitish Kumar over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and had embarrassed him by pointing to the failure of the government in connection with the death of over 150 children reportedly from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur. Even in early October, BJP leaders blamed Nitish Kumar for one of the worst cases of waterlogging in Patna following heavy rainfall.
In this backdrop, it is widely being discussed in the political circles that BJP has had enough of Nitish Kumar. BJP leaders also claim that the party is stronger in the state and have overwhelming support from the upper castes, OBCs and EBCs that were once loyal to Nitish Kumar.
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