New Delhi: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is headed for the national capital today where he is expected to attend a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners.
Kumar will also be attending a Parliamentary Board meeting of the JD (U). JD (U) registered an emphatic performance in the 17th Lok Sabha polls winning 16 of the 17 MP seats that it contested from Bihar. BJP and the alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) won all 17 seats and 6 seats respectively that they contested. There are a total 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
“Nitish ji will be going to Delhi today. JD(U) is an important alliance partner of the NDA," said a person aware of the development requesting anonymity.
Nitish Kumar's visit also comes in the backdrop of JD(U) expected to join the union cabinet. The impressive Narendra Modi led NDA’s performance at the hustings relegated the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) with no seats, bringing down the curtains on the Lalu era. Lalu Prasad, RJD president and former chief minister, is now serving a jail sentence in Ranchi. The infighting within his family has added to the party’s woes. RJD contested 20 seats this election as part of the ‘mahagathbandhan’ or grand alliance with the Congress, which contested nine seats. Congress was able to win one seat.
While BJP won 303 seats, the NDA stormed back to power with an even bigger mandate than in 2014. The coalition won as many as 353 seats out of the total 542 in the Lok Sabha, crossing its previous tally of 336.
The newly-elected MPs of the BJP-led NDA will meet today to formally elect Modi as their leader, setting in motion the process of formation of the new government. The meeting will take place in Parliament’s Central Hall at 5pm.
The BJP-led coalition’s emphatic win in the 17th Lok Sabha elections was paved by its strong performance in the Hindi heartland states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where it trumped regional alliances. It turned the identity politics of caste arithmetic on its head on which the heartland’s elections have been fought over the years.
In the 2015 Bihar assembly polls, BJP fought against a Congress-RJD-JD(U) combine and fared badly. In 2017, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar switched side to the BJP-led NDA ousting the Congress-RJD combine. Seized of the importance of an alliance in the state, the BJP took a step back in Bihar’s seat-sharing arrangement to accommodate two of its key allies, the JD(U), led by Kumar and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by Ram Vilas Paswan.
In 2014, the RJD won two seats, while BJP and its allies won in 31 seats in Bihar. The BJP alone won 22 seats, while its ally the LJP won in six seats and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) in three seats.