Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister of Bihar no matter which party in the coalition wins more seats in elections that start later this month, his deputy Sushil Modi of the BJP said on Thursday, unequivocally dismissing any suggestion of a backdoor deal with Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party or LJP.
"It is a media creation by some vested media houses. What is BJP's interest if LJP is fighting against JDU (Janata Dal United) and if because of that JDU loses seats, so does the LJP have the power to win more than 2-3 seats in Bihar?" he told NDTV.
"Each and every leader has made it clear that LJP is not a part of NDA in Bihar. In each and every public meetings, I am telling the people, don't waste your votes by voting for the LJP candidates. They are vote-cutters. This is a design by some strategist, by some brain," Mr Modi said.
Refusing to confirm whether this "strategist" was Prashant Kishor, a former member of Nitish Kumar's party, Mr Modi said, "I will not name anybody. But I just wish to say that if JDU gets less seats, then how will there be a stable government in Bihar?"
The Deputy Chief Minister also confirmed that Nitish Kumar will lead the state even if the BJP wins more seats. "We are saying this because the number of seats is not important. How much ever seats BJP wins or JDU, Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister," he said.
"Let me remind you in 2000, we had 64 MLAs and Nitish Kumar's party had only 36 or 37 MLAs. Still, Nitish Kumar was the Chief Minister," Mr Modi added.
Asked about his party's stand of contesting almost the same number of seats as Nitish Kumar's party, he said, "It is very difficult to explain the reason in public. We are fighting on equal number of seats. But it has been decided that [ally Jitan Ram] Manjhi's seats will be adjusted in their quota. And [another ally] VIP seats will be adjusted in the BJP quota."
"So now, the VIP is fighting 11 seats. In that way, the number of seats fought by the JDU is four or five more than the BJP. Because 121 BJP had [but] we're fighting only 110 seats on our symbol," he added.
Bihar will vote on October 28, November 3 and 7 for a new government and the results will be announced on November 10.