The appointment of a new chief in Janata Dal United — mainly to give Chief Minister Nitish Kumar a chance to opt out of dealing with the BJP brass — indicates a deep divide within Bihar’s ruling alliance. Ramchandra Prasad Singh was named the chief of Janata Dal United today by Mr Kumar, just two weeks after he broached the matter with some partymen.
The Janata Dal United has not shied away from blaming the BJP for covertly backing the rebellion by Chirag Paswan, which chopped off nearly half the party’s strength in the assembly and left it as junior partner to the BJP.
Today, the party openly expressed displeasure over several issues, starting with the situation in Arunachal Pradesh, where six MLAs of the party have joined the BJP, leaving it with only one MLA in the state assembly.
In BJP-ruled Arunachal Pradesh, the Janata Dal United was part of the opposition and the crossover of the MLAs has left the party with no heft in the assembly.
“This is no good for the alliance. They should adopt Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dharma,” said party spokesman KC Tyagi, voicing displeasure with the ally.
Renu Devi, one of Mr Kumar’s Deputies, has claimed that the Arunachal developments would not affect the alliance in Bihar. “We had not poached them (JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh). What could our party have done if some legislators voluntarily expressed desire to join us”, the former BJP national vice-president had told reporters.
Mr Tyagi today said the JD(U) is “hurt” by the BJP’s move.
“Our party’s leader had a word with (BJP chief) JP Nadda. He had said the MLAs must be included in the cabinet but the BJP included them in the party. The JD(U) is hurt with this,” Mr Tyagi said.
The JD(U) also expressed displeasure with the BJP’s move in several states – including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka — to criminalise inter-faith marriage with new legislation.
“There have been attempts to divide the society, this is not right,” Mr Tyagi said.