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Nitish calls alliance with BJP difficult; signals split
All eyes on JD(U) conclave as both parties disagree over Modi
Vibha Sharma/TNS

The situation is such that there are problems (in continuing the alliance)…. Dua karte hain jeene ki, dawa dete hain marne ki. Dushwari ka sabab yeh hai (They wish you a long life, but offer poison. This is the irony)

— Nitish Kumar, Bihar CM

Sushma SwarajOnly a united Opposition can defeat Congress… The NDA’s unity is a historical necessity. We must do everything to keep NDA united. — Sushma Swaraj, BJP leader

New Delhi, June 14
The JD(U) may take a final call on the future of its 17-year-old alliance with the BJP during its conclave over the weekend in Patna. The ties between the two partners have strained ever since Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s anointment as BJP’s election management committee chief on Sunday.

The impasse continues without any perceptible climb-down from either side on the core issue - the rise of Modi. In fact, it seems to have worsened with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaking his mind on problems arising out a “difficult” situation.

Returning from his two-day “seva yatra”, Nitish chose a poetic way to describe the current state of affairs: “Dua karte hain jeene ki, dawa dete hain marne ki. Dushwari ka sabab yeh hai (They wish you a long life, but offer poison. This is the irony),” he was quoted as saying in Patna.

What he probably meant was that while the BJP wanted the JD(U) to stay in the coalition by talking of their long alliance, it was harming the regional ally by promoting someone who could be detrimental to its political future.

Conceding that the situation was difficult and a way out was being discussed, he said: “On the one hand, some (BJP leaders) are suggesting that the old alliance should continue, on the other conditions are such that there are problems.”

The lead NDA partner - the BJP - appears to be pursuing a well-devised strategy to deal with the tricky issue.

So while in Delhi party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated the BJP’s well-rehearsed pacifying tone, their state leadership seemed to be all set to part ways with the Bihar ally.

Sources say the BJP’s state leadership is confident of winning more Lok Sabha seats in 2014 than what it did in 2009. “If the split happens, everyone except the JD(U) will gain and Nitish knows this,” a source said.

However nonchalant the BJP may sound, the series of crisis to have hit the party in the recent past has taken some fizz out of the bonhomie ever since Modi’s name was announced at the Goa conclave.

LK Advani’s resignation followed by open criticism by the JD(U) has ensured the focus stays on problems generated after Modi’s anointment.

While the JD(U) leaders say there are no other options left but to part ways, BJP leaders believe all this posturing has only weakened JD(U)’s credibility among the Bihar electorate.

“Modi is BJP’s election committee chief, not NDA’s,” a leader argues.

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s statement that they had not given any ultimatum to the BJP over walking out of the coalition is being perceived as a sign of softening of stance by the BJP.

“The alliance exists for now but it has to continue under the norms of national agenda of the NDA under which the coalition has functioned so far,” Yadav was quoted as saying. While BJP leaders appeared hopeful of a rapprochement, JD(U) general secretary Shivanand Tiwari accused the BJP of “forcing” them out of the NDA by projecting Modi.

NDA unity a necessity: Sushma

The BJP on Friday emphasised that it wanted its alliance with the JD(U) to continue, saying it was needed for Opposition unity. Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who along with LK Advani was against Modi’s elevation, tweeted on the need for saving the alliance. “Only a united Opposition can defeat the Congress. Whenever Opposition got united, Congress was defeated. Therefore, NDA’s unity is a historical necessity. We must do everything to keep NDA united,” Swaraj said.

Left touches base with JD(U)

Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Friday met JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav amid talks of non-Congress, non-BJP parties tying up for a federal front for the General Election. Yechury said the Left wanted unity of parties on the basis of alternative policies. “What we want is alternative policies. The Left parties have called a political convention on July 1. We will discuss the alternative policy framework,” he said.

No threat to Nitish govt

The outcome of the JD(U) conclave will have little impact on the stability of the Bihar Government. Even if the alliance breaks down, Nitish will stay in power. The state Assembly has 243 members and the majority mark is 122. The JD(U), with 118 members, needs just four more to reach the mark.





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