The BJP tried every bit to save the alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) before the cracks became so wide that mending them became impossible, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad told NDTV today.
Yesterday, sources had told NDTV that top BJP leaders did not contact Mr Kumar or tried to convince him to stay, despite knowing the trajectory of events well in advance.
“We have always tried to save the alliance,” Mr Prasad said at an event today.
On whether Home Minister Amit Shah spoke with Mr Kumar before the JD(U) announced it was quitting the alliance, Mr Prasad said, “Yes, he spoke with Nitish Kumar…But Nitish ji’s ambitions had become so huge, he no longer trusted the alliance. The people of Bihar will give an answer soon. We will keep working for the people.”
In an interview with NDTV yesterday, Union Minister Giriraj Singh insisted that the BJP has been maintaining “coalition dharma”. It was Nitish Kumar who “went shopping,” he declared, even when he was made the Chief Minister despite having 36 seats, way below the BJP’s 63.
It was the BJP’s stance as the big brother in the state that had constantly riled Mr Kumar since the state elections. What apparently pushed him over the edge was his conviction that the BJP was about to a do a Maharashtra in Bihar, sources said.
There was concern that the BJP would split his Janata Dal (United) and install a Chief Minister they can control, the way they dismantled the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra, sources had said.
That man, Mr Kumar had suspected, was RCP Singh, who claimed to be the chosen one of the BJP for the lone cabinet seat it allotted the JD(U) at the centre.
RCP Singh was not offered another term at the Rajya Sabha, forcing him to step down from the Union Cabinet. Over the weekend, Mr Singh quit the JD(U) after the party accused him of corruption.
Now with Mr Kumar teaming up with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal – currently the largest party in the Bihar assembly – and several other parties, BJP sources said the party will focus on all 243 constituencies of the state.