Amit Shah to meet Nitish Kumar for breakfast, dinner today; spokespersons barred from speaking about seat-sharing issue

Patna: Amid reports of differences between the two allies, BJP president Amit Shah will hold discussions with JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over breakfast and dinner during his visit to Patna on Thursday.

File image of BJP president Amit Shah. PTI

File image of BJP president Amit Shah. PTI

Shah's first visit to Bihar after Kumar's JD(U) rejoined the NDA in 2017 comes in the backdrop of repeated assertions by spokesmen of the JD(U) that it was the "elder brother" in the coalition and should get the lion's share of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state. According to a state BJP release, Shah will arrive in Patna at 10 am. From the airport, he will proceed to the state guest house where he will "have breakfast with Nitish Kumar and other senior leaders"."After hectic day-long activities, Shah will have dinner at the chief minister's official residence," the release said.

"Shah's Bihar tour will be grand and historic. Under his leadership, the party has emerged as the largest political outfit in the world," BJP state president Nityanand Rai was quoted as having said in the release. The BJP president's Bihar visit is considered important from point of view of finding a way out to the prickly issue of seat-sharing among NDA partners for next year's Lok Sabha election.

The NDA which had won 31 seats in Bihar is witnessing claims and counter-claims made by leaders of NDA constituents after JD(U) returned to its fold. Old partners — BJP, LJP and RLSP — had won 22, 6 and 3 seats respectively while JD(U) which had fought separately with the Left parties had managed only two seats in the last parliamentary poll. With the return of JD(U) to the NDA, the fresh allotment of seats among partners seems to be a difficult task.

The BJP release added that Shah's engagements will include meetings with BJP workers, including those handling the party's social media outreach, followed by "deliberations on poll preparations at the state guest house from 4 pm, to 7 pm". After spending the night at the state guest house, Shah will leave for New Delhi on Friday morning, the release said. Meanwhile, the JD(U) has reportedly restrained its spokespersons from speaking on the seat-sharing issue.

Although there has been no official word on the issue from the party, JD(U) leaders said on condition of anonymity that "instructions have been issued that no spokesman should speak on the seat-sharing issue so that no misunderstandings erupt ahead of the BJP chief's visit". While party spokespersons, led by its national general secretary KC Tyagi, have been stressing the JD(U)'s "elder brother" status, the stand was recently disapproved of by the party's leader in the Rajya Sabha and Kumar's confidant RCP Singh who had said "in democratic politics all are equal. Elder brother and younger brother are terms appropriate to a family".

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Updated Date: Jul 12, 2018 06:43:38 IST

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