Party eyes a larger role outside Bihar and plans to fight upcoming state elections even if an alliance with the BJP does not materialise.

New Delhi: The Janata Dal United (JDU) had started eyeing to play a larger role outside Bihar under its new chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh, who took over as the party president on 31 July this year.
Sources have confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that the party’s morale had been boosted after the bypoll victory in the state and in the five state Assembly elections which are scheduled next year, it will try to fight on a large number of seats. The new party president had declared that JDU will fight the upcoming state elections even if the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not materialize.
Nitish Kumar’s JDU is the largest constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after the saffron party which enjoys a majority of its own in the Lok Sabha, while in the state of Bihar, both the parties are dependent on each other. The JDU had 43 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), while the BJP had 74 MLAs. The Bihar-based party had some footprints in northeast states like Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh which are important for the party’s national ambitions. JDU had won seven Assembly seats out of 15 it contested in Arunachal Pradesh in the last Assembly elections and became the second largest party in the state.
Talking to The Sunday Guardian, former cabinet minister and Member of Bihar Legislative Council, Neeraj Kumar, said, “Our national president had made it clear that we will fight the upcoming state elections including the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, we will try to fight in alliance with the BJP, but even if the alliance in UP does not materialize, we will contest the polls independently. Our USP under the new president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh, would be the governance model of Nitish Kumar which has been very successful, tested and trusted in Bihar in the last 15-years and has been praised all across the country. We will expand in other states as well. We have an active presence in the North East and other states.”
After being appointed the national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh, reconstituted the party’s North East Executive Council (NEEC). It was the first committee reconstituted by the new president after he took over the party’s leadership, replacing RCP Singh. North East Executive Council (NEEC), a sub-group within the party, was formed in 2018 when Nitish Kumar was party’s president. In the new committee, Lalan Singh had appointed JDU national general secretary and party incharge for northeast states Afaque Ahmad Khan, party’s national general secretary and Bihar’s Water Resource minister Sanjay Kumar Jha, Member of Parliament from Jhanjharpur Bihar Ram Prit Mandal, along with party’s state president’s from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim.
Santosh Singh, a Patna-based political analyst who has covered the JDU very closely, said, “Yes, the party will try to expand. After the Bihar Assembly elections in which their tally went down to 43, it was not looking outside Bihar. But the recent bypoll victory on two seats where they decisively defeated Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had energized the cadre and Lalan Singh is a good strategist who will try to strengthen the party in other states. Even after the 2015 Assembly victory, Nitish Kumar tried to expand the party’s footprints and visited many states. I think Lalan Singh will try the same. In UP, the party will definitely fight in at least 50 seats of Purvanchal.”