In Bihar, Amit Shah breaks bread with Nitish Kumar, to hold seat-sharing talks later

This is BJP chief Amit Shah's first visit to Bihar since Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA fold last year.

In Bihar, Amit Shah breaks bread with Nitish Kumar, to hold  seat-sharing talks later
Image Credit: ANI

PATNA: BJP national president Amit Shah arrived in Bihar capital Patna on Thursday and met the ruling Janata Dal-United (JDU) chief and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at breakfast.

Shah who is also scheduled to interact with party leaders and workers to design strategies leading up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, met the Janata Dal-United president soon after his arrival here.

The BJP chief headed straight for the state guest house near Raj Bhawan along with senior party leaders to break bread with Nitish Kumar – whose party is a key NDA constituent.

Shah will again meet the Chief Minister at his official residence at dinner when crucial discussion on 2019 General Election seat sharing between the allies was expected.

A team of BJP leaders, including Union Ministers from Bihar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi earlier thronged the Patna airport with garlands to welcome Shah.

This is Shah's first visit after Nitish Kumar's JDU joined the National Democratic Alliance in July 2017 after dumping the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress of the Grand Alliance.

The BJP president's Bihar visit is considered important from point of view of finding a way out to the prickly issue of seat-sharing among NDA partners for next year's Lok Sabha election.

The NDA which had won 31 seats in Bihar is witnessing claims and counter-claims made by leaders of NDA constituents after JD(U) returned to its fold.

Old partners - BJP, LJP and RLSP - had won 22, 6 and 3 seats respectively while JD(U), which had fought separately with the Left parties, had managed to win only two seats in the last parliamentary polls.

Putting an end to all speculations, the Janata Dal-United had last week said that it will not part ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and will remain a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). 

The decision was taken at the national executive meeting of the party, chaired by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in New Delhi on July 8. Several issues such as 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 2020 Bihar Assembly elections were discussed during the JDU national executive, said reports. 

A day later, Nitish Kumar clarified that the two parties will work together only inside the state.

Addressing media persons, the Chief Minister said, “We (JDU and BJP) are working together in Bihar but when it comes to outside Bihar there are no discussions like that. There has not been an alliance like that at the national level.”

When asked about the possibility of the JDU going along with the Mahagathbandhan, comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, Nitish Kumar said that “it isn’t possible to get together with some other party at some other place”.

All this came amid repeated attacks on Nitish Kumar by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav over reports of differences between the JDU and the BJP.

Meanwhile, unprecedented security arrangements have been made for Shah`s visit. The state capital has been turned into a fortress with thousands of security personnel deployed and traffic diversions in place.

The entire city has been flooded with colourful hoardings, banners, high rise gates and posters highlighting the achievements of four years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

Shah will be holding series of meetings and discussions with the party leaders and workers on preparations leading up to the 2019 general elections.

He will interact with 10,000 ground level party workers, who head the booths in the state. Besides, he will also meet the party's social media activists to discuss the digital campaign, a BJP leader said. 

(With Agency inputs)