Amid the reports of internal chaos within the NDA partners in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday evening said that he is unaware of who is his friend and who are the enemies in politics. In what seemed an indirect attack at the BJP, Kumar said that the seat distribution within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the recently concluded assembly elections should have been done five months prior to the poll. CM Nitish added that it is because of the delay that his Janata Dal (United) suffered a blow. He also said that false propaganda was spread against JDU, in a dig at LJP's Chirag Paswan, who contested the polls against Nitish but with PM Narendra Modi. While Nitish reiterated that BJP pressurised him to be the CM, he also commented on the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC).
"The seat distribution within the NDA should have been done five months prior to the elections but that was not done and as a result, JDU had to pay a big price for it. I was not in favour of becoming the chief minister but because of the pressure of BJP and my party, I agreed to assume the post. People voted for us wherever we asked them and there was no confusion from our side. But false propaganda was spread against me and my party," he added. "We failed to anticipate who were our friends and who were not and on whom we should have trusted. After the election campaign, we got to understand that things were not conducive for us but by that time it was too late," he said.
Nitish Kumar further said that National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be implemented in Bihar and his party will oppose it even if it is attempted. Earlier, Nitish govt had passed a resolution in favour of old format of NPR, becoming first NDA ally to do so. Though Nitish did not take any names and advised JDU workers to forget what happened in the assembly polls and look ahead, his remarks are yet another proof of the strained relationship between NDA partners - BJP and JDU - more so, after Nitish's party MLAs joined the saffron camp in Arunachal Pradesh.
Just a day earlier, Nitish had said that no discussion took place on the expansion of the newly formed cabinet in the state. After meeting the top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders at his official residence 1 Anne Marg in Patna, Kumar said that the matter did not come up for discussion. "As of now, there are 14 members in the state Cabinet. The issue (of Cabinet expansion) was not taken up for discussion at the meeting (with BJP leaders) yesterday (January 7)," said Kumar. As per the rules, a maximum of 36 ministers, including the Chief Minister, can be appointed to the 243-member Bihar Assembly.
The 2020 Bihar Assembly election witnessed a voter turnout of 57.05 per cent as against that of 56.66 per cent in the 2015 polls. The polls turned out to be a nail-biting contest with NDA emerging victorious in 125 seats as against that of 110 seats won by the Mahagatbandhan. BJP, RJD, JD(U), Congress won 74, 75, 43, and 19 seats respectively. BJP winning more seats than JD(U) for the first time in a Bihar Assembly election led to the speculation that JD(U)'s clout in the alliance will reduce. LJP is believed to have damaged JD(U)'s prospects in 32 seats despite bagging a solitary seat. While Kumar again took oath as the CM of Bihar, BJP has two Deputy CMs in 4-time MLAs Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi.