Pushed to the wall, Nitish Kumar’s JD-U wants to expand base outside Bihar
PATNA—Pushed to the third position after last year’s Bihar assembly polls, the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) is working hard to expand its base outside the state. Under part of the plan, the party wants to contest as many seats in UP which goes to polls early next year.
Recently, senior JD-U leader K C Tyagi called on UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and discussed the issue of seat sharing with him. Tyagi hopes the talks will move in positive direction but at the same time, the JD-U leadership is working on the alternate plan to go it alone if the alliance talks didn’t materialize.
A party official said the JD-U will field candidates on at least 200 seats if the alliance talks crashed. “Our first choice will be to contest the UP polls in alliance and we hope this works out. We have an old present in UP and the objective is to revive the party beyond Bihar,” Tyagi told the local media.
Reports said the JD-U wants to contest the elections in alliance with the BJP in UP but the latter doesn’t appear interested given the fact that the JD-U didn’t have any base there and also the way the Bihar-centric party fared badly in every states where it tried its luck in recent months.
The most interesting incident took place in 2017 when chief minister Nitish Kumar suddenly walked out of the contest after addressing several election rallies in the state. In fact, it was the chief minister who had kicked off the poll campaigns quite too early but when it came to contest elections, his party decided not to contest “to prevent split in secular votes”.
The fact, however, was that no parties in UP showed any interest in allying with the JD-U as a result of which it opted out of the contest. The chief minister first tried to enter into poll deal with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh and then looked eager to join hands with the ruling Samajwadi Party but none showed any interest in JD-U.
The condition of JD-U doesn’t look better ever four years later. The party faced severe embarrassment in recent February 2020 Delhi elections where the JD-U lost both the seats very badly.
While it lost the Burari seat by over 88,000 votes, the margin of loss was over 42,000 in Sangam Vihar. In West Bengal polls, the nomination papers of three out of four JD-U candidates were rejected. Even more embarrassing story came from Arunachal Pradesh where six of JD-U’s seven legislators joined the BJP.