JD(U) to contest UP polls in alliance with BJP, seats to be decided: Kushwaha

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PATNA: The speculations about realignment in Bihar politics ended as quickly as it emerged following Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) state chief Jagtanand Singh’s offer of support to Nitish Kumar on the vexed special state and caste census issues should the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decides not to come on board.

However, now all eyes are on the high stake UP elections, where Janata Dal (United) wants to contest “enough seats” to keep its hopes alive for achieving the national party status, but looks unlikely to get that many seats from the BJP.

JD(U) parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha said the party will fight election in UP as part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), but how many seats JD(U) will contest is not yet clear. “We will fight as part of the NDA. It was decided during earlier meeting,” he added.

Kushwaha said that union minister RCP Singh has been authorised to coordinate with the BJP in this regard. “With not much time left, this may be decided soon. Our strategy in UP is to contest enough seats so that we could have a chance of achieving national party status. But how many seats we will get to contest is something that will be decided after talks and that must be on. But the fact is that we will contest with BJP,” he added.

Social analyst Prof Nawal Kishore Choudhary said that Nitish Kumar was a pragmatic politician and he was aware of his own strengths and weaknesses as well as that of his allies to play his cards deftly. “He knows a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. He will never go for an offer (RJD’s) that remains in the domain of uncertainty. Choudhary Charan Singh is an example who was made the PM, but could not even seek trust vote due to withdrawal of support before that. He is not the one who would be happy being a titular head, but at the same time wants to keep sending messages to the BJP that it has more options and that may help his party get some seats in UP as well for presence. BJP has been accommodating to Nitish, as it also does not want to lose another ally. If JD(U) gets even some seats in UP, where BJP fully dominates, to keep its flock together, that will be a step forward for the party,” he added.

Former director of AN Sinha Institute of Special Studies DM Diwakar said that the ongoing political ‘noora-kushti’ (fixed fight) was apparently a balancing game due to future stakes, which will become important with a lot of key decisions to be made, viz. JD(U)’s stake in UP elections, Bihar legislative council elections, Rajya Sabha elections and appointment on a large number of seats, which have remained vacant for a long time.

“Everyone knows in UP JD(U) does not have big presence, but as an ally it will like to have commitment for Bihar, where it has higher stakes. BJP-JD(U) alliance suits both in equal measure due to an unavoidable House arithmetic and hardly leaves room for manoeuvres,” he added.


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