Amid a downturn in relations between Bihar’s ruling allies, BJP chief Amit Shah is in Bihar for a day-long visit to hold discussions with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. After landing in Patna this morning, the BJP chief headed for breakfast with the Chief Minister.
The key meeting will be tonight’s dinner, during which the two leaders are expected to discuss the contentious issue of seat sharing for the 2019 general elections. Before that, Mr Shah is expected to meet the leaders and workers of the state unit to discuss the ground situation and hold strategy sessions.
Barely a year down their alliance last July, seat sharing has become a sore point between the two parties, each of which wants to project itself as the “big brother” in the alliance.
Last week, senior party leader KC Tyagi said the party will not ally with the BJP for elections in four states. “We aren’t helping or supporting or opposing the BJP,” Mr Tyagi declared while announcing the news. “We fought in Gujarat, in Nagaland, in Karnataka on limited seats… We carry the political agenda of our party,” he added.
But senior BJP leaders like Giriraj Singh, who is also a Central minister, and BJP general secretary Rajendra Singh had hinted that Mr Kumar is not indispensable. Mr Singh had indicated that even without the JD(U), the BJP-led alliance was capable of contesting Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats and ending up winning three-fourth.
Mr Kumar has said his party will take a final call on seat sharing after seeing what the BJP has to offer.