Amid reports of strain ties between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal United (JDU) in Bihar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Monday confirmed that the parties will fought the 2020 Assembly polls together in the state and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be the leader of the coaliiton. The BJP leader has also refuted the speculations of worsening relationship with the Nitish-led JDU.
Standing next to Nitish Kumar in Bihar Assembly, the deputy further expressed confidence over NDA's victory in the upcoming Assembly polls, adding that the allies are still united. His statements comes on the heels of opposition's scepticism about the NDA remaining intact, after Kumar refused to represent JDU in the Union council of ministers.
"Reports in the media often leave doubts in the minds of the people as to whether the NDA will remain intact or not. Let me tell the people of the state from this House that we will be contesting the Assembly polls next year under the leadership of Nitish Kumar," Modi was quoted as saying in the Assembly.
The deputy chief minister, who also holds the Finance portfolio, was replying to the debate on the Appropriation Bill, which was passed by the House today. In a veiled attack at the Congress-RJD Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) in Bihar, he also said, "Let there be no illusions. Nobody likes to ride a sinking ship".
In a related note, Chief Minister Kumar, during his Darbhanga tour on July 21, met RJD MLA Abdul Bari Siddiqui at his residence, triggering speculations in the political corrdior of Bihar that some RJD MLAs may shift side anytime soon. However, the RJD has so far maintained that the meeting between Kumar and Siddiqui has nothing to do with politics.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the opposition combine received a drubbing from the BJP-JDU alliance, losing all but one of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.