Deal done, NDA makes most of dahi chura feast, shows unity of JDU, BJP & LJP
Chief minister Nitish Kumar was the star attraction at JD (U) state president’s venue where he spent over 45 minutes, exchanging pleasantries with leaders and workers. He also attended similar feasts hosted by LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan.
At a time when mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) is still to commence seat sharing talks, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Monday used Makar Sankranti to put up a united show, with their top leaders making it a point to attend the ‘dahi chura’ feast hosted by three alliance partners, JD (U), BJP and LJP.
Even as RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s residence wore a deserted look, the residence of JD (U)’s state unit president Bashistha Narayan Singh was buzzing with NDA leaders who joined party supporters to enjoy the traditional feast, served with tilkut and jaggery.
The NDA has already sealed a deal, with 17 seats each for BJP and JD (U) and the remaining six for the LJP. In doing so, BJP has sacrificed five of its sitting seats to accommodate JD (U)’s claim for contesting equal number of seats. The BJP had won 22 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 when it had contested 30, leaving seven and three for LJP and RLSP.
Building on its head start, NDA tried to signal that the talks of Opposition unity in the state have come under a cloud in the wake of SP-BSP tie-up in UP which left the Congress in the cold.
“We are on course to win all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar as people are determined to vote for development,” said BJP state president Nityanand Rai, as he emerged from one of the venues.
LJP leader Chirag Paswan was a bit circumspect.“We cannot take the SP-BSP alliance lightly, but the UP development will have no bearing on poll outcome in Bihar. We are certain to win on at least 35 seats,” he said.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar was the star attraction at JD (U) state president’s venue where he spent over 45 minutes, exchanging pleasantries with leaders and workers. He also attended similar feasts hosted by LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan and BJP state legislative council member Rajneesh Kumar. Paswan welcomed the CM with a warm hug.
Besides Kumar, senior BJP leader and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Union minister and LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan, state BJP president Nityanand Rai, former NDA convenor Nand Kishore Yadav, state assembly speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary, acting chairman of state legislative council Haroon Rasheed were present at all the three venues. Governor Lalji Tandon also attended the feast hosted by LJP.
Interestingly, deputy CM Sushil Modi and state BJP president Nityanand Rai also attended the feast hosted by RLSP’s breakaway outfit led by Chenari legislator Lallan Paswan, which has the support of MLA Sudhansu Shekhar MLA and MLD Sanjeev Shyam Singh. They have decided to stick with the NDA, after Upendra Kushwaha walked over to GA, and have been demanding two LS seats and a ministerial berth in the cabinet.
Last year, the JD (U) chief had created ripples by extending a special invite to former Congress president Ashok Chaudhary, who not only attended the feast along with few party MLCs but later joined the ruling party.
First Published: Jan 15, 2019 09:19:35