Patna, June 25: The crack in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) alliance government in Bihar became more apparent on Monday when the Nitish Kumar-led party stated that its coalition partner in the state was free to put up candidates in all the 40 constituencies during the upcoming General elections in 2019.
"If the BJP does not need the help of its alliance partners, then it can fight on all 40 seats alone. Nobody is stopping them. Every party has a decision of its own. If they want to take a decision, they can take it. There is no problem," JD(U) state chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh was quoted as saying by ANI.
Singh, however, in the same breath expressed confidence that his party is strong enough to fight the polls alone as it enjoys strong hold in all the districts in Bihar. The JD(U) has been asking for a comprehensive agreement among the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners that would determine the seat share of each party in the Lok Sabha (2019) and Bihar Assembly (2020) polls.
The JD(U) is also a part of the ruling NDA government at the Centre headed by the BJP. However, it seems the BJP is refusing to make any commitment in this regard so early.
The JD(U) chief spokesperson predicted that the BJP will not be able to win without chief minister Kumar.
"There is a big difference between 2014 and 2019. Issue-based politics is taking place in the country. The issues of 2014 election were different and for 2019 it is different. The BJP knows without Nitish Kumar, they will not be able to get through in Bihar," he added.
Last year, Bihar CM and head of JD(U) Kumar decided to leave the "mahagathbandhan" (grand alliance) to join hands with the BJP to run the state. The trouble in the BJP-JD(U) alliance has always been there as a section of the JD(U) from the beginning did not like the idea of establishing ties with the "communal BJP".
Reports of the BJP's high-handedness in the coalition government in Bihar is also something that is not acceptable to the JD(U). On several occasions, the Bihar government led by Kumar has gone against the wishes of the BJP.
The major bone of contention seems to be the division of seats between the alliance partners for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, scheduled in April/May next year.
In the 2014 General Elections, out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the BJP had won 22 seats and the JD(U) 2. At that time, the BJP and the JD(U) were not together. In the 2015 Assembly elections in the state, out of the 243 seats, the JD(U) won 71 and the BJP 53.
While the BJP has an upper hand as far as ticket distribution to its own candidates for the Lok Sabha polls is concerned because of its success in the 2014 elections, the JD(U) should then get preference in the 2020 Assembly polls.
But JD(U) leaders are not ready to fight the Lok Sabha polls in just two seats. The party wants to contest polls from at least 20 Bihar seats in the 2019 elections if a pre-poll alliance with the BJP is formed.
The problems in the BJP-JD(U) alliance have become public just days after the saffron party recently decided to end its partnership with the Peoples Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP is also facing stiff resistance from its alliance partner in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena.
Do all these developments in various states indicate that the BJP is fast losing its alliance partners before the 2019 polls?