The ruling Janata Dal (United) in Bihar is mulling over a proposal to contest the ensuing Assembly elections in neighbouring State West Bengal in 2021. The JD (U), which has always maintained that its alliance with the BJP is limited only to Bihar, had contested the 2019 Assembly polls in Jharkhand on it own.
“In West Bengal, we are planning to contest around 75 seats. However, a final decision will be taken by the JD (U) national president Nitish Kumar,” said party MLC and in-charge of West Bengal affairs, Ghulam Rasool Baliyavi.
Sources in the ruling camp said that there was a possibility of seat-sharing talks with the BJP. “If there is a seat pact, then it’s fine. Otherwise, we have contested against the BJP in Jharkhand last year,” said Baliyavi, dropping ample hints that the ‘friends in Bihar’ could be ‘rivals in Bengal’.
The JD (U) had contested the 2017 UP Assembly elections too on its own. But given the new development, where Nitish’s outfit was cut to size in its home State Bihar during the 2020 Assembly elections, a tie-up with the ever-expanding BJP could not be ruled out for the poll in Bengal which has a sizeable number of Biharis there.
“Every party wants to expand its footprints. And the JD (U) too has every right to do so. But there is no confrontation between the JD (U) and the BJP as the saffron camp has made deep inroads in Mamata’s citadel. The top leadership of the two-party will meet and sort out the issue of contesting polls in neighbouring State,” said BJP MLC and party spokesperson Sanjay Mayukh.
Meanwhile, the RJD leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav, has announced to whole-heartedly support Mamata for the ensuing West Bengal Assembly election.