Patna: Sharpening its rhetoric against its NDA partner, the Janata Dal (United) has said that the BJP was free to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha on its own in Bihar if it did not need an ally. The JD(U) added that it would contest from the most number of seats amongst NDA allies in the state. The party’s comments come as the NDA gears up to the delicate task of assigning seats to its partners in the run-up to the national elections.
Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP bagged 22 seats as compared to the JD(U)’s two, but at the time the two parties were not allies. Sanjay Singh, general secretary of the JD(U), was quoted as saying by The Times of India that the two elections could not be compared and 2019 “will be a different ball game”.
Singh said the BJP was well aware that minus the support of JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the BJP “will not be able to win in Bihar”. If it didn’t want any ally in the state the BJP “can field its candidates from all 40 Lok Sabha seats”, he said, as quoted by sources.
Singh also urged the BJP to keep its state leaders “under control” and restrain them from making “unnecessary” comments. BJP leader Rajendra Singh recently said that the party will contest from all 22 seats it had clinched in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The JD(U) has been sending mixed signals to the BJP after the NDA’s poor performance in the Bihar by-polls. On Sunday, Nitish Kumar said the central government’s national waterways project could only succeed if the siltation issue in the Ganga was resolved.