At I.N.D.I.A. meet, Nitish sought seat-sharing finalisation by Jan

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stressed the need to finalize seat-sharing arrangements by January at the recent meeting of the INDIA bloc, a key aide disclosed on Friday.

JD(U) national general secretary Sanjay Kumar Jha, who had attended the meeting along with Kumar in Delhi on December 19, briefed reporters at the party office here.

“Nitish Kumar expressed the view that seat sharing should be complete by January. After that all parties should come out with a common minimum programme, since to challenge the current regime we must have a counter-narrative, and plunge into the campaign,” said Jha, a close aide of the Bihar CM, who holds key portfolios in the state government.

He, however, refuted reports in a section of the media that Kumar grew “upset” over the coalition’s reluctance to name him the convener of INDIA and had skipped the post-meeting press conference to register his protest.

“As someone who was present at the nearly three and a half hours long meetings, I can say with authenticity that all the deliberations took place in a cordial atmosphere. It was decided that only a few leaders brief the media. We are appalled at the misleading reports”, claimed the JD(U) leader.

There is “no truth in the speculations that Nitish Kumar wanted to be named as the convener”, Jha said, adding that the JD(U) supreme leader has “played a key role in the formation of INDIA bloc and is satisfied with having done so”.

Replying to a query, Jha said, “We are confident that the proposed deadline of January, for seat-sharing, will be met in Bihar. We face no hurdles here. We wish the same happens nationally though all states have different dynamics”.

The JD(U) leader was also asked about speculations around the party’s national executive and national council meets scheduled in Delhi next week, when, according to a section of the media, a “big decision” was likely.

He replied, “It is routine. The party constitution calls for such meetings after a certain period. So these were due. Such meetings have been held as per schedule in the past, sometimes in Patna, and sometimes in Delhi. There is nothing unusual.” To a pointed query as to whether replacement of national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh “Lalan”, for perceived closeness with RJD president Lalu Prasad, was on the cards, Jha asserted, “Such a proposal has never been under consideration”.