The Telegraph
Sunday , August 13 , 2017

NDA seat reward for Nitish

- Offer of alliance co-convener post to Bihar chief minister likely

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar meets Amit Shah at the BJP president's home in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Aug. 12: Nitish Kumar is likely to be offered the post of co-convener of the National Democratic Alliance after the Janata Dal (United) formally joins the ruling coalition at the Centre, sources said.

The party will also be accommodated in the Narendra Modi government and is expected to be offered one cabinet berth and one junior minister's position based on its strength, the sources added.

The JDU has two Lok Sabha MPs and 10 Rajya Sabha MPs, of whom two - Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari - have rebelled and could have faced expulsion.

BJP president Amit Shah formally invited Nitish to join the NDA when the two leaders met here on Friday. The JDU will complete the formality at its national executive meeting on August 19 in Patna, the sources said.

While the induction of JDU ministers in the Modi government is expected this month, elevating Nitish to the post of NDA co-convener could take some time. "The BJP has to first discuss the issue with other NDA partners," a senior BJP leader said.

The NDA at present does not have a convener, so one would have to be appointed before a decision on the co-convener is taken, the sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chairman of the NDA and the BJP had deliberately not given any significant position to any ally so as to have total control over the affairs of the alliance despite demands from partners like the Shiv Sena.

But given that Nitish's rejoining the NDA had come as a big political victory for the BJP, the party was considering giving the JDU chief an important position.

"After all, Nitish should get something to show his critics that he had not surrendered to the BJP," one BJP leader said.

During its earlier stint in the NDA, the JDU had a prominent place with party leader Sharad Yadav the convener of the alliance. The co-convener's post would be a climbdown, but BJP leaders said Nitish should be happy he was being offered something.

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