Patna: The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) Sunday decided not be a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance outside the Bihar.
At its national executive meeting held at the official residence of JD-U chief Nitish Kumar here, the party also decided to go it alone in the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Haryana and Delhi.
The decision is being seen as Bihar Chief Minister’s reply to the BJP after JD-U opted out of the new government at the Centre last month, reportedly as it was offered just one seat in the Cabinet appointments.
The JD-U as NDA ally won 16 of the 17 seats it contested in the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.
Sunday’s JD-U meeting chaired by Nitish Kumar and attended by party vice president Prashant Kishor, state presidents and other top leaders, including MPs and MLAs has resolved to strengthen the party outside Bihar and focus on its month-long drive to recruit new members. The last membership drive was held three years ago in 2016.
The JD-U plans to strengthen the party from the panchayats to the national level by inducting new members. Last year, the party had set a target of inducting 50 lakh new members.
The party’s bid to expand its base outside Bihar recently got a boost after it won seven out of 60 seats in Arunachal Pradesh Assembly poll and was thereby recognized as a state party there. The JD-U had two legislators in Jharkhand till 2014. It had contested Assembly elections in many other states without any truck with the BJP in the past, but failed to make any impact.
Although Nitish Kumar stated that everything in the NDA in Bihar was well, a section of the party leaders believed that the JD-U’s resolve to strengthen its organization in other states and fight the elections on its own apparently hinted about growing divide between the two parties.
Opposition leaders alleged that JD-U’s reluctance to join the Narendra Modi-led government and its refusal to accommodate anyone from the BJP in the latest Cabinet expansion by Nitish Kumar summed up the growing contradictions with the NDA. The JD-U is said to have declined to join the Union Cabinet, as it was not being offered a ‘respectable’ share.