Patna: Few leaders from the BJP are keen that the party contests all 243 seats in the upcoming Bihar assembly elections. However, the party top brass wants to stick to the alliance with the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U). At an election committee meeting in the presence of BJP president J P Nadda on Saturday, sources said, general secretary Bhupinder Yadav cited the examples of Hindi-belt states— Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, MP and UP—to stress that the party is capable of touching the magic number in Bihar. "We will definitely cross three digits in the assembly. BJP will form its own government under the leadership of its leader," sources quoted Yadav as saying in the meeting. While Nadda shot down the idea, Yadav’s statement could be an indication that the BJP might change its stand depending on the election results.
It may even demand a BJP leader to replace Nitish Kumar as the chief minister, said sources. In 2015 assembly elections, the BJP had contested on 102 seats in alliance with its partners LJP, RLSP and HAM(S) and won in 53 constituencies. In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it tied up with the JD(U) and both contested on 20 seats each. Nadda said the elections would be contested under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and that BJP cadres should present a united NDA picture before the public to secure maximum seats. However, none of the leaders who spoke at the meeting, glorified Nitish Kumar. Instead, they gave the entire credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the development of the state. Later, Nadda met his JD(U) peer Nitish Kumar and discussed seat-sharing arrangements with him. Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal were also part of the talks.
During his visit, Nadda prayed at the famed Badi Patna Devi temple and visited Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur to interact with fishermen and vegetable growers. He also flagged off an ‘Atamanirbhar’ makeshift chariot to launch the BJP’s campaign. Meanwhile, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, who has been made the Bihar election in-charge, visited Ara, 55 km from the state capital, to get the feedback of grassroots BJP workers. He is scheduled to visit the historic Vishnupad temple in Gaya, and Jahanabad, once one of the worst-affected districts of extremist violence in Bihar.