Open to new poll pact: BJP leader after Nitish snub

Not averse to new poll pact, says BJP leader after Nitish snub

PTI file photo

A day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar rebuffed his alliance partner BJP and made it clear that “there was no question of implementing NRC in Bihar”, senior BJP MLC and former Union Minister Sanjay Paswan on Tuesday indicated that the “party could enter a new poll alliance if the present pact falls apart.”

Paswan was backed by another BJP MLC Sachidanand Rai who argued that a large number of BJP workers were in favour of projecting a BJP chief ministerial candidate in the ensuing Bihar Assembly polls. “But since our party president Amit Shah has announced that the NDA would contest the 2020 Assembly polls in the State under the leadership of Nitish, we, like a disciplined soldier, will abide by it,” said Rai, a strong opponent of Nitish.

It was Sanjay Paswan, the former Union Minister (who served in Vajpayee’s ministry), who first struck a discordant note. “We never ever said that Bihar should be made RJD-free. RJD is a strong Opposition party and the only opponent (not the Congress). We would like RJD to remain strong,” said Paswan, without elaborating whether he was extending an olive branch to Lalu’s outfit.

“Politics is the art of possible. If our trusted ally Shiv Sena can join hands with Congress, new equations could emerge in Bihar too, if the situation so arises… If the present arrangement of alliance with the JD (U) does not work any longer, we will have to look for new tie-ups,” said Paswan, who last year created a row when he asked Nitish to make way for a BJP CM. “Nitish has served Bihar for nearly 15 years. He should now join Union Cabinet and allow a BJP leader, preferably Sushil Modi, to become Bihar Chief Minister so that the BJP (as well as the State) could grow by leaps and bounds,” the senior BJP MLC had said few months back.

The JD(U), too, appears to be divided on an alliance with the BJP. Senior party leader Prashant Kishor, who has been quite vocal about his opposition to policies of Narendra Modi as well as Sushil Modi (Bihar Deputy CM, who is also Finance Minister here), on Sunday thanked Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi for their support in opposing the contentious NRC and CAA.

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