New Delhi, November 11
Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal on Wednesday credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s welfare policies for the ruling NDA’s win in the assembly polls and said all anti-incumbency claims have been negated by the mandate for a fourth term to the Nitish Kumar government.
He also made it clear that Kumar will continue to head the NDA government in Bihar and asserted that the gap between the number of seats of BJP and JD(U) will have no impact on the ruling alliance dynamics in the state.
“Certainly, 100 per cent,” Jaiswal told PTI when asked whether Kumar will remain the chief minister.
“We are allies and equals. We have to run Bihar collectively,” he said.
“Wining the fourth term is always a great task for anybody. We have won that. This proves everything was fine. It is very rare that you win a fourth term in continuity. We have done this and it settles everything,” Jaiswal said.
Asked what he believes swung the hard-fought elections in the NDA’s favour, he said it was largely due to Modi’s welfare programmes for the poor.
“What the prime minister has done for the poor (that worked)… He provided them with electricity, cooking gas cylinders and toilets. They have also been given free ration for eight months following the corona outbreak. These were the biggest reasons,” he said.
To a question on the massive damage Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party inflicted on the NDA, especially the JD(U)’s prospects, he said that the LJP also hurt BJP in a number of seats.
If the LJP was not there, the BJP would have defeated RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav in Raghopur constituency, Jaiswal claimed.
He, however, insisted that the LJP was not a big factor but it was the rebels of both the BJP and the JD(U) who harmed the prospects of the NDA in many seats across the state.
To a question on whether LJP will now have any place in the ruling alliance, he said it is for the BJP Parliamentary Board, the apex decision-making body of the saffron party, to decide on that.
He, though, added that the NDA means the BJP, JD(U), Vikassheel Insaan Party and Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAM(S) in Bihar.
Asked about the reverses the NDA had in the first phase of polls in 71 seats on October 28, he acknowledged that in the south-west region of Bihar, the NDA faced difficulties and said it will be reviewed.
The ruling coalition won 125 seats in the 243-member state assembly against 110 clinched by the opposition grand alliance to pave the way for a fourth successive term for Kumar in office but with diminished clout following a debilitating slide in the number of JD(U) lawmakers that came down to 43 from 71 in 2015.
The BJP had the best strike rate among all parties in the fray as it won 73 of the 110 seats it contests.
Allies VIP and HAM(S) won four seats each.
‘Committed to make Nitish the Bihar CM’
Refusing to draw comparisons between Bihar and Maharashtra, the BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday asserted that his party was committed to make Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister again, a day after poll results in the northern state were out.
“Maharashtra and Bihar are different states. It has already been decided that Nitish Kumar would be the CM there. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement to this effect and the BJP is committed to it. Nitishji will be the CM of Bihar (again),” Fadnavis said.
The statement by Fadnavis — BJP’s election incharge for Bihar — assumes significance as a similar situation had developed in Maharashtra a year ago after which its three-decade-old ally Shiv Sena broke off ties and ousted him as the CM in the western state.
It came hours after the Shiv Sena expressed doubts whether the BJP would stick to its promise of making Nitish Kumar the CM as his party Janata Dal-United failed to even cross the 50-seat tally and now stands third (43 seats) in the state after Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD (75 seats) and BJP (74 seats).
After the 2019 Maharashtra assembly polls, the Shiv Sena got lesser seats than BJP but demanded the CM’s post as per a BJP promise during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
However, after the BJP spurned the demand, the Shiv Sena broke away from the NDA to join hands with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress and formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi with Uddhav Thackeray as the CM, stunning the BJP.
While the Shiv Sena stuck to its ground that the post of CM — irrespective of the number of number of seats it bagged — had been assured to the party, Fadnavis and the then BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah countered by saying there was no such commitment.
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