The war of words over who will be the Chief Ministerial candidate in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections has intensified among NDA and Mahagathbandhan with leaders of both blocks contradicting each other.
A section of state BJP leaders recently said that CM Nitish Kumar will be the NDA’s face in the upcoming poll while, others were quick to rebut saying that only party high command will decide the matter. Similar voices reverberated in mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) where alliance partners Congress and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM)-Secular said Tejashwi Yadav may be RJD’s CM face but it has not been decided yet.
In the NDA state BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan first blew the bugle and said Mr. Kumar should now quit his post for BJP and do national politics since the “BJP has trusted him for 15 years”.
Two days after, senior BJP leader and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, who is considered close to Mr. Kumar, tweeted saying, “Nitish Kumar is the captain of NDA in Bihar and will remain its captain in next assembly elections in 2020 also…when captain is hitting 4 & 6 defeating rivals by the innings where is the questions of any change?”.
Soon after senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP, C.P. Thakur, and some other party leaders contradicted Sushil Modi’s statement by saying, “only top BJP leadership will decide who will be the NDA’s CM face in 2020 assembly poll in Bihar”. “NDA should contest the next assembly poll in the state on the face of PM Narendra Modi”, C.P. Thakur told journalists in Patna.
The state BJP, meanwhile, appeared to have divided in two camps over the face of Nitish Kumar as NDA’s CM candidature in the upcoming assembly poll.
On Friday, JD(U) leader and Urban Development and Housing minister in chief minister Nitish Kumar’s cabinet Maheshwar Hazari said, “some leaders in BJP are making comments to pursue their own politics…no better face than Nitish Kumar is in the state to be the chief minister…if he (Mr. Kumar) will not be the CM, Bihar will again go to pre-2005 era”.
Other party leaders like Sanjay Kumar Jha, Lallan Paswan and Dilip Chaudhury too, defended Mr. Kumar as “robust, rooted and rocking captain of NDA in Bihar and shall continue to be so”.
Alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan, LJP MP from Jamui, too defended Mr. Kumar saying, “Nitish Kumar has been the leader of NDA in Bihar and he will be the face of NDA”.
On the other hand, similar voices reverberated in Opposition mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) as well.
When the RJD leaders asserted that “party leader Tejashwi Yadav was, is and would be the leader of mahagathbandhan in 2020 assembly poll”, alliance parties like Congress and former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAM (Secular) spared no time to dismiss them saying, “the issue has not been discussed as yet”.
“Tejashwi Yadav may be RJD’s face of CM but the issue has not been discussed yet in mahagathbandhan…our party high command takes decision on such issues”, said state Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha. Senior party leader and former state party president Sadanand Singh too, echoed the opinion.