Nitish Kumar Targets Over 200 Seats In Bihar Polls, Says No Rift In NDA

Nitish Kumar's leadership of the ruling alliance in Bihar has come under pressure with two BJP leaders and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan hinting at a change after the NDA nearly swept the state in Lok Sabha polls in April-May

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Nitish Kumar Targets Over 200 Seats In Bihar Polls, Says No Rift In NDA

Nitish Kumar's leadership of the ruling alliance in Bihar has come under pressure over the past fortnight


Patna: 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today claimed the NDA will register a landslide win in next year's Assembly polls and win more than the 206 seats it got in 2010. In strongly-worded comments the Chief Minister, whose position as leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state has come under pressure, also assured those "trying to do internal sabotage" that they would be dealt with.

"All those who are trying to do some internal sabotage will get (the) political lesson of their lives after next year's assembly election. In 2010 no one could imagine when we got 206 seats out of 243. This time you will see... we will get much more than 200 seats," the Chief Minister said while addressing a party workers convention in Patna.

Nitish Kumar's leadership of the NDA in Bihar has come under pressure over the past fortnight, with two BJP leaders and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan hinting at a change despite Mr Kumar, who was dubbed "Sushashan babu" (Mr Good Governance), leading the alliance to victory in 39 of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the April-May national election.

It marked a successful return to the fold for the JD(U), which snapped ties with the BJP in 2013 and allied with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for 2015 state elections.

"There are many who think there is something amiss in our alliance. It is not so. Those trying to do 'ghachpach' are going to be in trouble (bura haal hone waala hai), let me assure you," Mr Kumar said, claiming his critics "lacked political acumen" and had confided they were attacking him to gain publicity.

Although he had not been named, Union Minister Giriraj Singh responded to the Chief Minister's comments, insisting his critiques were never made in front of anyone else or behind Mr Kumar and adding that "... but whatever i say i remain firm on that ..."

In his speech Nitish Kumar, whose vision of 200+ seats likely relies on support from Mr Paswan's LJP, which was allied against him in 2010, also made indirect references to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, saying there were some people "who don't know ABCD of politics".

Tejashwi Yadav served as Deputy Chief Minister under Nitish Kumar after the 2015 polls, in which the JD(U) and RJD formed a grand alliance that came unstuck after money-laundering cases were lodged against Mr Yadav. Nitish Kumar walked out after the RJD refused to back his demand for Mr Yadav's resignation.

Reacting to the comment, Tejashwi Yadav, who has aggressively targeted Mr Kumar, much to the dismay of some of his party leaders, said that if he didn't know the "ABCD of politics", Nitish Kumar should not have made him Deputy Chief Minister.

With input from PTI



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