Uttar Pradesh vital for Nitish Kumar's national ambitions

In UP, Mr Kumar is keen to accommodate the Congress to form a larger alliance in the state to counter the BJP.

New Delhi: The JD(U)-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh is set to become a test case for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to forge a larger alliance at the national level for the 2019 polls. In UP, Mr Kumar is keen to “accommodate” the Congress to form a larger alliance in the state to counter the BJP.

The JD(U) held a national council meet in Bihar on Saturday to take forward the party’s proposed merger with Ajit Singh’s RLD and Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. The one-day meet also explored alliance options with smaller outfits, such as the Peace Party and a splinter group of the Apna Dal, in UP.

The JD(U) machinery has been activated to hold parleys with regional and smaller outfits like AUDF, JMM, AAP, TMC and TRS. Talks are also on with the Left parties. Mr Kumar has already given a clarion call to establish a ‘Sangh-mukt Bharat (Sangh-free India)’.

While there are murmurs about the possibility of Mr Kumar leading an anti-BJP grand alliance at the national level, the UP election is expected to be the first step in that direction.

Aware that the JD(U) has virtually zero influence in UP, the Nitish game plan is to damage the BJP as much as possible in this crucial state.

The JD(U), intending to joining hands with the RLD, plans to target the Jat votes in western UP. Owing to the communal flare-up in Muzaffa-rnagar during the last general election, a large chunk of the Jat vote, which traditionally went to the RLD, had swung towards the BJP. Some in the JD(U) had told the media that if Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary was projected as the chief ministerial candidate following the JD(U)-RLD pact, the Jat votes could shift to this combination.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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