Nitish Kumar meets PM Modi, says will never leave NDA again

Nitish Kumar meets PM Modi, says will never leave NDA again

New Delhi | Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday in what was their first meeting after the Janata Dal (United) president dumped the opposition INDIA bloc and joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) last month and later reiterated that he will not leave it again.

Following his meeting with Modi, Kumar met Home Minister Amit Shah and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J P Nadda and is believed to have discussed a host of governance and political issues related to Bihar.

In brief remarks to reporters later, the JD(U) chief recalled his association with the BJP since 1995, before he broke the ties in 2013, and said he might have left it twice but will never do it now.

"Never now. We will remain here (in the NDA)," he said.

The meetings came five days ahead of Kumar's government facing a trust vote in the Assembly on February 12.

Kumar had taken the oath along with eight ministers, including three each from the BJP and the JD(U), and an expansion of the council of ministers is on the cards.

Both parties have to deal with a number of tricky political issues ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, including the distribution of parliamentary seats for contesting the election among them and their smaller allies.

The BJP and the JD(U) contested 17 seats each in Bihar during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls while the then Lok Janshakti Party, now divided into two factions, contested on six. The NDA now also includes former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha.

There is also a view that Kumar wants the Bihar Assembly dissolved so that its election could be held along with the Lok Sabha polls expected in April-May but the BJP, which has much more strength than the JD(U) in the House, might be cold to the idea, sources said.

Asked about the seat-sharing issue, Kumar played it down, saying BJP leaders are aware of it.

Six Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar are falling vacant, for which elections are scheduled to be held on February 27.

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