Bihar: BJP treads cautiously ahead of JD(U) meeting

NEW DELHI: With the JD(U) leadership taking aim at the BJP over a host of issues, a senior leader of the country’s ruling party claimed on Monday that his party has adhered to “coalition dharma” in its alliance with the Bihar party and will continue to do so.
“We will discharge our coalition dharma,” he said as Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar called a meeting of Janata Dal (United) MPs and MLAs on Tuesday amid his party’s worsening ties with the BJP.
Amid speculation that the JD(U) is reconsidering the alliance, senior BJP leaders have maintained a studied silence on the ally’s accusation related to the fallout of R C P Singh, once the closest aide of the Bihar chief minister, with Kumar and also Chirag Paswan.
“It is difficult to comprehend what Kumar is up to. We will wait and watch,” a BJP leader said.
Paswan’s decision to field candidates against the JD(U) in the 2020 Bihar assembly polls had hugely dented its prospect and its president Lalan Singh suggested on Sunday this was part of a larger conspiracy, a veiled dig at the BJP.
The development related to R C P Singh was another attempt based on the “Chirag model”, he had said without naming any party.
The JD(U)’s decision to deny him another Rajya Sabha term had led to his ouster from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet amid growing belief in his party that the bureaucrat-turned-politician had tilted decidedly towards the BJP and ignored the interests of his own party.
He recently quit the JD(U) after the party sought his explanation on alleged corruption charges.
BJP sources noted that Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to Patna had explicitly told its leaders that the alliance with the JD(U) will continue in the next Lok Sabha and the assembly polls, scheduled in 2024 and 2025 respectively.
After that the JD(U) should have no reasons to complain, a BJP leader said.
The JD(U), however, has also been nursing a grievance about the BJP ignoring its claim to three berths in the Union Council of Ministers.
Frequent comments of Bihar BJP leaders that appear to question the governance provided by Kumar besides push to the saffron party’s ideological agenda, considered incompatible with the JD(U)’s stated position, have also strained the ties, sources said.

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