speculation continues on the future of Bihar's ruling alliance, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leaders said Tuesday there was no threat
to the Nitish Kumar government even if the BJP walked away.
A day after Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in the state said that
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, widely perceived to the
party's prime ministerial candidate, could not be sacrificed for
the sake of the alliance, JD-U leaders said they had the numbers
to overcome any crisis.
"If BJP tomorrow withdraws its support and ends the 17-year
alliance with the JD-U over Modi, the Nitish Kumar government will
not fall. The JD-U has adequate numbers to run the government
alone," said a senior JD-U leader considered close to Nitish
The tenuous equation between the two parties came under further
strain when Nitish Kumar Sunday said in New Delhi that the party
would not compromise on the issue of a secular leader for the
country's top job. He did not name Modi directly but the inference
was only too clear and the battlelines became more clearly drawn.
According to a senior JD-U leader, the party needs the support of
122 legislators in a house of 243 to remain in power.
"The JD-U already has 118 legislators and most of the six
independent legislators are supporting the party and will extend
support to carry on the government led by Nitish Kumar," he said.
The BJP has 91 legislators, the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal
22, Congress four and the Lok Janshakti Party and the Communist
Party of India one each.
Devesh Chandra Thakur, former minister and senior JD-U leader,
said if somebody thought that the time was ripe for a do or die
battle, then they too were ready for it.
JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said the party strongly believed in
secular ideology and wanted to take along all castes and
communities. If any party had a problem, he said, "we cannot help
The BJP appears to be only too ready for the battle with its long
time partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
A BJP minister in Nitish Kumar's government, who met BJP national
president Rajnath Singh in Delhi Monday, reportedly said that a
pullout would be the fitting reply to Nitish Kumar in view of his
attack against Modi.
The sentiment found ready echo.
"We will not accept such language and tolerate such politics,"
Giriraj Singh, a hardcore champion of Hindutva in Bihar, told IANS
over the phone.
Another BJP minister, Ashwani Kumar Choubey, said party workers
and leaders were wholeheartedly with Modi. "There is no question
of acceptability of BJP minus Modi," Choubey said