After 18 yrs, JD-U, BJP on separation course

Saffron party leaders ready to sit in Opposition

After 18 yrs, JD-U, BJP on separation course

Writing an epitaph for his 18-year-old alliance with the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday made a candid confession that it was becoming increasingly difficult to run a coalition with the saffron party in the state.

Explaining his discomfort over the recent developments, Kumar recited a shayari to summarise the events, “Dua karte hain jeene ki aur dawa detein hain marne ki (They pray for long life while giving poison as medicine),” alluding to the BJP leaders pleading with him not to break the alliance, while projecting his bete noire Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate.

The BJP also, having read the writing on the wall, is eventually gearing up for life after the alliance with the JD-U goes kaput. Keen to be projected as the “martyr,” the party is in no hurry to cobble up a majority, nor is it interested in any form of horsetrading.

Senior party leaders on Friday made a clean breast that if at all the alliance is called off, they would prefer to sit in the Opposition in the 243-member House, as the party had only 91 MLAs against the JD-U’s 118. In that case, present Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi could be the Leader of the Opposition.

Immediately on arrival from Katihar, Nitish convened an emergency meeting on Friday at his official residence with key aides including Vijay Choudhary, Vijendra Yadav, Ali Anwar and Shyam Razak.

Sources said modalities were being worked out on how to call off the alliance, when to inform the governor and how to intimate the BJP about snapping off ties.    

Nitish has convened the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislature party meeting here on June 15-16 which will decide the future course of action.

JD-U president Sharad Yadav, who is also the convenor of the NDA, will arrive on Saturday and is expected to attend the crucial two-day meet following which the announcement could be made on Sunday.

The JD-U is reported to have extracted assurances from five out of the six independent MLAs on supporting the chief minister. The JD-U has 118 MLAs in the 243-member House and needs the support of only four MLAs to gain a simple majority.

The sixth independent legislator, Dilip Verma, however, alleged on Friday that all sorts of inducements were being offered to him to cross over the fence, a charge vehemently denied by the JD-U.

Verma, a legislator from Sikta, is close to the BJP and JD-U leaders believe he is being used as a pawn by the BJP to tarnish Nitish’s image. “We have sufficient numbers. We do not need Verma’s support,” JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said.

Meanwhile, the BJP suffered a major embarrassment on Friday when the Patna district administration refused to allot the Millar School ground to the party where its president Rajnath Singh was supposed to address a meeting on June 23.

“The denial of permission for our national president’s meet is a clear indication of things to come,” said Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey, adding that the party on Friday had decided to convene its legislature party meeting on June 17.

He lamented that the uncharitable statements issued by a few second-rung JD-U leaders against Narendra Modi were in bad taste.

“Hum aah bhi bharte hain to ho jate hain badnam, woh katl bhi karte hain to charcha nahi hoti (even if we sigh, we become infamous, even if they kill, nobody talks) ” remarked Pandey, while ruing how strained ties between the two alliance partners has turned from bad to worse.

Sushil Modi is reported to have cleared all pending files at his residence as he not only holds the finance portfolio, but also the Forest and Environment and the Commercial Taxes departments. Among his other Cabinet colleagues from the BJP, Ashwani Choubey is on a pilgrimage to Badrinath and Kedarnath, while Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh, a known votary of Narendra Modi, is in Gujarat.

The other six BJP ministers, Chandramohan Rai, Nand Kishore Yadav, Prem Kumar, Sunil Kumar Pintu, J S Sigriwal and Sukhda Pandey, have adopted a wait-and-watch policy. But their common grouse was that in view of the uncertainty prevailing around, bureaucrats paid little heed to their directives and governance had come to a standstill.

From Bad To Verse

JD (U): “Dua karte hain jeene ki aur dawa detein hain marne ki”

BJP: “Hum dua bhi detein hain, aur dawa bhi detein hain; Jinhe dost banate hain uska saath bhi detein hain”

BJP: “Hum aah bhi bharte hain to ho jate hain badnam, woh katl bhi karte hain to charcha nahi hoti”

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