Rift within NDA ahead of Bihar polls

With just two weeks to go for the Bihar assembly polls, an open rivalry has broken out in the ruling alliance between JD-U and BJP.

Patna: With just two weeks to go for the Bihar assembly polls, an open rivalry has broken out in the ruling alliance between Janata Dal-United`s (JD-U) Mohammad Taslimuddin and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain in the Seemanchal region, comprising Purnea, Kishanganj and Araria districts.

Taslimuddin, who joined the JD-U a few months ago after resigning from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to work for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar`s development agenda, is reportedly unhappy with Shahnawaz Hussain.

Taslimuddin blames Hussain, a former central minister, for creating trouble and making it difficult to ensure an easy victory for NDA candidates in the Seemanchal region, known as his stronghold.

Before joining the JD-U, Taslimuddin and Shahnawaz were known as political rivals in Seemanchal for over a decade.

"Shahnawaz is working against me and my supporters as he used to in past elections. He is forgetting that I am working to strengthen the hands of Nitish Kumar," Taslimuddin told IANS over telephone.

Taslimuddin alleged that Shahnawaz was responsible for a "bad" seat-sharing formula between the JD-U and BJP, which he said would not help the NDA in the polls.

"Shahnawaz has procured ticket for candidates who aren`t that good... They are bound to lose... Shahnawaz has been instrumental in sinking the NDA boat in Seemanchal but I am working hard to prove him wrong," Taslimuddin said.

A JD-U leader close to Taslimuddin said that he was denied ticket by the JD-U to contest from Araria under pressure from BJP leaders. "This angered Taslimuddin more as he was ready to contest polls," the JD-U leader said.

Taslimuddin, however, said that Nitish Kumar had given three tickets to his supporters, including his son Sarfaraz Alam, to contest polls.

He refuted speculations that he was planning to contest polls as an Independent candidate after JD-U denied him ticket.

BJP sources said that most of the candidates in Kishanganj and Araria districts were Shahnawaz loyalists and supporters including, Narayan Jha, who has been fielded from Araria.

BJP leaders have revealed that they were not happy with the way Taslimuddin was promoted by Nitish Kumar and had raised questions soon after he joined the JD-U.


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