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No rift between BJP & JD(U), no hurry to sort out seat-sharing: Nitish

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Patna, Jul 9:  Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today dismissed reports of any “rift” between his Janata Dal (United) and ally BJP over sharing of seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, adding that he was in no hurry to resolve the thorny matter.

He made it clear that his party’s alliance with the BJP was limited to Bihar, a reason why the JD(U) had been fielding candidates in a number of states against the BJP.

Kumar, however, asserted that the question of his party becoming a part of an anti-BJP alliance elsewhere did not arise.

I am sitting here alongside (Deputy Chief Minister) Sushil Kumar Modi. It is amply clear that the government is functioning well and there is no problem between the two parties, the chief minister told reporters on the sidelines of his weekly public interaction programme Lok Samvad.

The JD(U) supremo was replying to queries about reports of simmering discontent within the Bihar NDA where his own party has been insisting on playing the role of a ‘big brother’ even as the other constituents (of the alliance)–the BJP, LJP and RLSP– have been reluctant in giving up their respective seats.

I do not wish to comment on what has been going on in the media. It is all hot air. All the issues relating to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be sorted out in due course and the outcome would be made public. There is no hurry, he said.

Kumar also confirmed that a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah, who is scheduled to visit the Bihar capital on

July 12, was on the cards. Though, he did not elaborate what was likely to be the agenda.

Speculations are rife that Shah and Kumar will thrash out the issue of seat sharing in the meeting.

Kumar’s return to the NDA fold last year after the disintegration of Grand Alliance, comprising JD(U), RJD and Congress, has made the issue of seat sharing among coalition partners prickly.

The BJP along with its allies LJP (of Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan) and RLSP (of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha) had won 31 seats out of a total of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

The saffron party had won 22 seats while LJP bagged six and RLSP 3. The JD(U) which teamed up with Left parties could win only two seats in the polls.

Asked about the JD(U)’s recent announcement to contest the upcoming assembly polls in a number of states, including

BJP-ruled ones like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kumar said it was done in the past too.

We have done so in the past. We fought and won a seat in

Nagaland ( in February this year). We contested in Karnataka (in May last) where our party unit comprises a number of leaders with socialist background. This creates no problems or confusion as it has always been our stated position that the alliance between JD(U) and BJP is limited to Bihar, the chief minister clarified.

Asked about a possibility of having a truck with the Congress, Kumar evaded a direct reply, but remarked that he was not the Congress president to answer the query.

Some Congress Legislators in Bihar have reportedly sought Kumar’s return to the anti-BJP alliance. Congress in-charge of the state Shakti Singh Gohil also backed Kumar’s demand for special category status for Bihar.

Asked about his recent remarks that there were plans to eliminate his party, the JD(U) president said he had made the observation in the light of what he had been noticing on social media.

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