JDU president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has set his eyes on next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections where he is aiming to win a sizeable number of seats.

JDU leaders who spoke to this newspaper said there will be no pre-poll alliance in the state, unlike in Bihar, where the party contested the elections alongwith the RJD and the Congress.

“In all the rallies that we have done recently in Uttar Pradesh ( Mirzapur, Jewar), Nitish has been the main speaker and only JDU leaders were on dais. We are hopeful that the voters in Uttar Pradesh will vote for us. We are going to do a big rally in Allahabad on 16 July,” a senior JDU leader said.

He confirmed that the party will be contesting the elections alone. “There will be a tactical alliance but no pre-poll alliance. We might not contest on seats where the Congress candidate is in a stronger position. We are hoping to get a sizeable number of votes on our own so that we can contribute in making a secular, socialist government in the state. We are aware of our limitations and do not have an unrealistic expectation,” the leader quoted above said.

In the 2012 UP elections, JDU had contested 219 seats, won zero seats but polled around 3 lakh votes.

Interestingly, poll strategist Prashant Kishor Pandey, who has been given the rank of a Cabinet minister in Bihar, will play a crucial role in the “tactical alliance”.  Pandey is Congress’ poll strategist in UP. “We will be seeking his (Pandey’s) inputs while deciding which seats to contest. As of today, our closest ally in Uttar Pradesh is the Congress,” said the leader. The frequent meetings between Nitish and former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahai, who has been associated with Nitish since his college days, has led to speculation that Sahai can also play a role in finalising an understanding between the JDU and Congress.


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