Do not speak against NDA govt, Amit Shah asks BJP leaders
Union home minister Amit Shah has asked BJP leaders in Bihar not to speak against the Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the state, pointing to electoral compulsions in a closed-door party meeting, sources said.
Shah stressed on the ground reality and caste-driven politics in the state while addressing legislators, MPs, ministers and senior party leaders after the conclusion of the two-day “joint national executive” of the BJP’s seven morchas or organisational fronts in Patna on Sunday evening.
BJP national president J.P. Nadda, national general secretary B.L. Santhosh, general secretary (organisation) Bhikhubhai Dalsaniya, and Bihar unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal were also present on the occasion.
“We are in alliance with the JDU here. We cannot break it on the basis of your complaints and sit in the Opposition,” Shah was quoted by sources as saying at the meeting.
Remembering the four-year hiatus between 2013 and 2017 when the JDU and the BJP had gone their separate ways, Shah was quoted as saying: “We fought the 2015 Assembly elections without the JDU as an ally. We lost many seats in comparison to previous elections and managed to win just 53. We had to sit in the Opposition.”
The Union home minister was reacting to a number of complaints by BJP legislators that government officers right from the block and district levels to the state headquarters did not listen to them.
The BJP leaders also complained about posts in various state-level commissions and the 20-point programme for the uplift of the poor remaining vacant for years, the Nitish-led government allegedly creating hurdles in the functioning of the party’s ministers in the cabinet, the regular war of words between the two allies (JDU and BJP), and being made to feel powerless.
“Just ensure that nobody from our party speaks against the government of which we are a part. We need to think about the alliance. You are free to speak about your ideology or philosophy, but not against our own government,” Shah told the BJP leaders.
He asked his party leaders in Bihar not to behave like “cry-babies” because the public does not think well of politicians who whine. He asked them to be achievers and stay on top of the situation.
However, the Union home minister also discussed the agitation against the Agnipath armed forces recruitment scheme in Bihar in June during which BJP leaders and offices were attacked continuously for three days.
Allies JDU and BJP have been at loggerheads since the 2020 Assembly elections with the former blaming the latter for ensuring its poor performance by instigating Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan to put up candidates at almost all the seats contested by it. The BJP won 74 seats while the JDU managed just 43.
The two allies also differ with each other on several issues, including the National Population Register, National Register of Citizens, uniform civil code, population control policy; controversies on wearing hijab in schools, namaz at public places, loudspeakers atop religious institutions, Pegasus spyware scandal among others.
Shah’s words not only came as a balm on the tense relations between the two parties, they were also seen as an attempt to keep Nitish in good humour in view of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The NDA swept 39 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in 2019. The BJP would like to repeat it in 2024 to offset any possible reverses in Uttar Pradesh and Bengal where it had performed well in the previous general elections.