Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Saturday met Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi and announced that their parties will jointly contest the Bihar Assembly elections, reported PTI. The polls are due in November.
“We will fight Bihar elections together,” Soren told the media while exiting the hospital, where Yadav is admitted. He added that the RJD leader’s health was much better.
RJD is a part of the ruling alliance in the Soren-led state government, along with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Congress. In December, the three-party coalition emerged victorious in the Assembly elections, after winning 47 out of the 81 seats, while the Bharatiya Janata Party won 25 seats.
On the question of the number of candidates that the JMM will field in Bihar, Soren asked the media to “wait for some more time to know who will enter the poll fray and from where”.
In June, the JMM had asked for 12 seats in the Bihar Assembly polls under the Grand Alliance, according to India Today. However, the RJD had hinted that it might only provide two to three seats.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met BJP chief Jagat Prakash Nadda and discussed seat-sharing for the state elections, according to PTI. Nadda along with party colleague and Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, National General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav and the party’s state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal were present at the meeting.
Later on Saturday, Nadda attended a meeting of the party state unit’s core committee meeting at Modi’s residence, according to ANI.
In August, Nadda had declared that the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar – comprising the Janata Dal (United), the Lok Janshakti Party and the BJP – would fight the upcoming Assembly elections together with Kumar as the chief ministerial candidate.
Amid discussions on seat-sharing of the NDA parties, Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan refuted speculation of a rift with the Bihar chief minister. “I have no problem with the name of Nitish Kumar as the face of the NDA,” he said, according to NDTV. ““... I am okay with any Tom, Dick or Harry chosen by the BJP.”
He added that the NDA parties had to agree on a common minimum programme which should include his “Bihar First and Bihari First” campaign. Paswan said he was not willing to work with Kumar’s “seven resolves” commitment that had been announced before the 2015 election. Paswan has been a vocal critic of Kumar’s administration.