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Nitish-Lalu tie-up has made NDA work harder in Bihar

Lalu and Nitish

New Delhi: The tie-up between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and RJD leader Lalu Prasad’s party has made NDA’s work “harder” in the poll-bound state, Union minister Upendra Kushwaha today said, as he held talks with BJP President Amit Shah regarding their alliance.

Shah held talks with the chief of Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), a BJP ally, as he is keen to close out deals with Bihar allies at the earliest, to take on the formidable Lalu-Nitish combine who, many believe, pose a tough challenge to BJP, which is pulling out all stops to win the Assembly polls due in September-October.

Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP is another BJP ally in Bihar and the saffron outfit is also working to win over mahadalit leader and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

“We will have to work harder now,” Kushwaha told PTI, after his meeting with Shah, when asked if the alliance between RJD and JD(U) had made their task of winning Bihar more difficult.

BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav, who is in charge of Bihar, and his predecessor and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan were also present during the meeting.

RLSP has been demanding 40-50 seats to contest in Bihar.

Kushwaha, however, declined to comment over it, saying they did not discuss it.

“We discussed our strategy for the Assembly election. It was an initial talk,” he said.

Even as talks were on, a RLSP leader said Kushwaha should be projected as the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate to counter the RJD-JD(U) alliance’s wide appeal among the backward castes.

“Kushwahaji is a credible face. He can counter the social justice plank of RJD and JD(U) which BJP cannot,” party’s secretary general Shivraj Singh claimed.

Kushwaha comes from Koeri community, a backward caste, and had worked with Nitish Kumar before they parted ways.

With Kumar being projected as the chief ministerial face of the ‘Janata Parivar’ alliance, pressure has mounted on the BJP to declare its leader as well.

Former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi is seen as a natural choice even though a section of state functionaries is against him.

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