JD-U, HAM likely to overlook differences, play ball with BJP


Patna, May 7 (IANS): For the upcoming Presidential polls, the BJP would require good support from states like Bihar to place its candidate for the top post of the country.

The saffron party is sharing power with the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in Bihar and the former would manage to take support of its alliance partners JD-U and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), despite the fact that they are having difference of opinion on several issues, including CAA, NRC, Uniform Civil Code etc.

Experts believe that the presidential elections may not hit the political interest of parties like the JD-U and HAM at the ground level in Bihar. Hence, they would not oppose the BJP nominee.

There was a buzz that Nitish Kumar might be fielded as the Presidential nominee with the support of the BJP. However, Kumar said that he is not interested in the politics of the Centre.

"Nitish Kumar is the CM of Bihar and he is undoubtedly the undisputed top-notch leader of the JD-U. He is not going for the politics of the Centre, nor is he in the fray for Presidential or Vice-Presidential posts," said Neeraj Kumar, MLC and chief spokesperson of JD-U.

Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan also met with Nitish Kumar a couple of days ago, and there is a buzz that both the leaders discussed the issue of a cabinet reshuffle in Bihar. This also indicates that Nitish Kumar will stay here in Bihar. Besides, they also reportedly discussed the current strength of the BJP for the Presidential polls.

RJD Vice-President Shivanand Tiwari also said that there is strong indication that Nitish Kumar would not go to the Centre.

"He loves the chair and if he fails to bargain for the prestigious post of the President, why would he go to the Centre? I believe the BJP will promote current Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu for the post of President. Given that possibly, Nitish Kumar will stay in Bihar," Tiwari said.

"JD-U is also facing the crisis of Nitish Kumar's political successor. At present, JD-U has several groups like the R.C.P. Singh camp, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh camp and Upendra Kushwaha camp. If Nitish Kumar goes to the Centre, the JD-U will split in Bihar. In that case, some of the JD-U leaders will go towards the BJP, while some others would join the RJD, and Nitish Kumar can't afford such a situation," Tiwari said.

Recently, the JD-U in a bid to stop groupism in the party had issued official notification for all leaders that in every poster and advertisement, the photograph of only Nitish Kumar will be used. No other leaders are now entitled to promote themselves via poster politics in Bihar.

Nitish Kumar knew that he would come in a position of strong bargain with the BJP only by strengthening his party at the ground level. At present, JD-U has only 45 seats in the Bihar Assembly, which is less than the 69 seats it had won in the 2015 elections. The JD-U will get strong in Bihar only if Nitish Kumar remains at the helm of party affairs.

The Presidential elections would not affect any political interest of Nitish Kumar. Hence, he would most likely extend his party's support to the BJP nominee.

However, BJP leaders are tight-lipped on the Presidential polls. They believe that the party has adequate numbers to achieve the target and the decline of seats after the UP elections would not affect the party.

At present, BJP has 77 MLAs in Bihar while the JD-U has 45. HAM with 4 MLAs is expected to follow the stand of JD-U and support the BJP on this issue. In the legislative council, NDA has 53 seats, which include JD-U's 28, BJP's 22, HAM's 1, RLJP's 1 and VIP's 1.

As far as the RJD is concerned, its leaders have always maintained that on any decision at the Central level, it will go with the Congress.

In Bihar, RJD has 76 MLAs, Congress has 19, Left parties 16 while the AIMIM has 5 MLAs. In Vidhan Parishad, RJD has 11 seats, Congress 4, CPI 2 and Independent 5 seats.


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