Ahead of BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Janata Dal(U) national executive on Sunday empowered Mr. Kumar to take all decisions on seat adjustment with the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The move is aimed at pressuring the BJP to come out with a firm offer to the JD(U) on seats. The JD(U) had earlier contested 15 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar under an old arrangement in the NDA before it walked out of the alliance prior to the 2014 polls. The NDA won 31 seats in 2014 along with its new allies, the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP). Mr. Shah will visiting Patna on July 12.

‘No stance yet’

Briefing the press after the meeting, party spokesperson K.C. Tyagi said Mr. Kumar, in his address to the national executive, said that “no firm offer had yet been forthcoming” from the BJP and therefore, no stance could be taken with regard to it.

“We are in the NDA and in Bihar, Nitish Kumar will be its face,” Mr. Tyagi said.

Significantly, the party roundly condemned Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s visit to Nawada jail to meet Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists who have been lodged there for cases related to communal violence.

“There is no question of any compromise with corruption, crime and communalism. Our government does not believe in shielding or framing anyone,” Mr. Kumar was reported to have said in the closed-door meeting to his party men.

Later Mr. Tyagi too reiterated that position. “We are against communalism and Ministers going to meet the accused is completely unacceptable. We are against the Nawada incident and we don’t think it is right that a Cabinet Minister met the accused.” He said the JD(U) was a separate political entity and had independent views from the BJP.

Mr. Tyagi recalled that the Janata Dal(U) had pulled out of the Mahagathbandhan because of the Congress’s intransigence over allegations of corruption against then Deputy Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav.

Interestingly, he added that till the Congress clarified its position with regard to the RJD and the allegations of corruption against Mr. Yadav, there could be no talks on a return to the old alliance. Two resolutions were also passed by the Janata Dal(U) national executive on Sunday, one supporting simultaneous polls and the second opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016.

The party’s resolution said providing citizenship should be done without taking religion into account.

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