The Janata Dal-United (JDU) will contest next year's Uttar Pradesh elections separately from its Bihar ally BJP, the party announced on Wednesday, saying the decision had nothing to do with developments in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's state where "everything is fine".
"Janata Dal-United has decided to fight the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections set to be held in 2022 alone, separate from the BJP. The decision was taken unanimously by the national committee of the Janata Dal-United," the party's general secretary KC Tyagi told NDTV.
"In 2017, we did not contest in UP. This damaged the party quite a bit. Our party's national committee has unanimously decided that UP is a state connected with Bihar where our government policies have been well publicised. So, we should contest the assembly elections in UP alone in 2022," Mr Tyagi said, adding he had been made in-charge of the campaign.
"The decision to contest elections alone in UP has nothing to do with the political developments in Bihar though everything is fine in Bihar," he added.
Ties between Nitish Kumar's party and the BJP have been tested since last year's state elections where the JDU emerged as the weaker of the two parties following a spoiler by the Lok Janshakti Party that many speculated had covert support from the BJP.
Demoted to junior partner and its biggest rival Rashtriya Janata Dal becoming the single-largest party, Nitish Kumar still became Chief Minister but the BJP showed who's boss by replacing his long-time second-in-command Sushil Modi with two new Deputy Chief Ministers.
Less than two months after the October-November elections, the JDU faced another humiliation in Arunachal Pradesh where all but one of its MLAs switched to the BJP.
However, any strain between the two parties has not been publicly acknowledged yet by neither the JDU nor Nitish Kumar even though the Chief Minister has been increasingly prone to angry outbursts at public appearances lately.