BJP to demote Samrat Choudhary to please JDU?

New Delhi: The first casualty of the BJP’s strategic alliance with the JD(U) appears to be the party’s Bihar unit president Samrat Choudhary. Mr Choudhary also holds the position of deputy chief minister of Bihar. Sources revealed that long-standing tensions between Mr Choudhary and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar could lead to significant changes within the BJP. The simmering rift has intensified speculation about a potential organisational reshuffle in the state, with pressure mounting on the BJP to address the discord.

With the Assembly elections due in April-May 2025 in Bihar, the JD(U) will now mount pressure on the Centre for special package and special category status (SSC) for the state. Pressure could also be mounted for reducing Central taxes levied on Bihar. JD(U) national secretary K.C. Tyagi on Wednesday made it clear that the JD(U) was firm on getting the special status for the state. Speaking to a TV channel, JDU) spokesperson Arvind Nishad went on record saying that “special status for Bihar has been a long-standing demand.” He said: “When Narendra Modi takes the oath as Prime Minister for the third time, the people of Bihar expect a special package.”

It was learnt that the Bihar CM did not meet Mr Choudhary, who went to his residence Tuesday to congratulate him for the JD(U)’s spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha polls. The JD(U) won 12 Lok Sabha berths from Bihar. A senior party leader from the state said the “rift” between Mr Kumar and Mr Choudhury “is known to all in the state”. It was also revealed that just before the Lok Sabha elections, Mr Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he was somewhat “upset” over the “constant interference” of a particular BJP minister in the Bihar Cabinet. It was learnt that some of the bureaucrats had complained to Mr Kumar of this BJP minister’s “interference” at various levels.

Meanwhile, the names of candidates for ministerial berths and portfolios have begun circulating in JD(U) corridors. The names of Sanjay Jha, Lallan Singh, Kaushendra Kumar and Lovely Anand were doing the rounds for Cabinet berths. Sources said that besides railways, the JD(U) could also be eyeing agriculture and heavy industries.

While both Mr Tyagi and Ms Anand indicated that the JD(U) “will remain part of the NDA”, party functionaries indicated that “everything will depend on relations between both the parties”. On the issue of the JD(U)’s terms with the INDIA bloc, a party functionary noted that Mr Kumar was on “good terms” with most of the INDIA allies, including Mr Rahul Gandhi.

However, the JD(U) is not the only BJP ally from Bihar which was eyeing Cabinet berths in Mr Modi’s government. Sources revealed that LJP chief Chirag Paswan could seek two Cabinet berths, one for himself and the other for Ms Shambhavi Choudhary, who became the youngest MP of India after she won the Lok Sabha elections on a LJP ticket from Samastipur. Shambhavi’s father, Ashok Choudhary, is a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet. Mr Paswan met Mr Kumar Wednesday morning apparently to “congratulate and seek blessings”. Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jiten Manjhi, who won from Gaya, could also seek a Cabinet berth for himself.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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