Amidst speculation that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) was getting close to BJP, especially in wake of his supporting the Centre’s move to demonetise higher denomination currency notes, the RJD maintained that there was no need to worry for the time being. Nitish is the only leader from the Opposition camp, who has supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetisation.
RJD leaders sought to underplay Nitish’s comments saying one should not read much in it but said the party was aware of the recent developments and every effort would be made to make sure that “BJP’s gameplan of creating fissures within the Grand Alliance” is defeated.
“There may be differences on certain issues because each party has its own identity. The Grand Alliance is intact as of now. But if something happens in future, we will make sure that the BJP does not come to power,” said RJD general secretary and spokesperson Chitranjan Gagan, while speaking to this newspaper.
A senior state JDU leader told this newspaper that right now there was no problem with RJD. “But what will happen in the future, no one knows. If something happens, it will happen only after the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections as then we might have to change our strategy,” he said. When asked whether Nitish supporting demonetisation indicates his willingness to get closer to the BJP, Gagan said: “Different parties have different styles of working. Though Nitishji is also supporting demonetisation, he is also talking about the inconvenience being faced by the common man in getting cash. We are also talking about it. The only difference is that we are ‘more vocal’ on the issue than Nitish Kumar. But we are confident that there is no threat to the Grand Alliance and there is agreement among all the alliance partners on the issue of development of Bihar.” Sources, however, said all is not well within the alliance, especially because of the Lalu’s interference in the functioning of the government, though this is being denied, officially, by both JDU and RJD leaders. Sources also said that Lalu is making every effort to ensure that his son and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav takes over as Chief Minister at an appropriate moment.
In Assembly of 243 seats, RJD has the maximum 81 MLAs, followed by JDU 70, BJP 53 and Congress 27. The combined strength of JDU and BJP is 123, which is one more than what is required for a simple majority.