Bihar Assembly elections | Nitish Kumar’s model of development — ending mafia raj, jungle raj — has found popularity among people

The results have just been out and there are some formalities that all political parties have to go through within their own set up

Bashishtha Narayan Singh, president of the Bihar unit of the Janata Dal (U), speaks to Nistula Hebbar on the just-concluded polls in the State, and government formation efforts…..

The Janata Dal (U) has returned to government but under reduced circumstances. How do you read the verdict?

It is a fact that the Janata Dal (U) was negatively impacted by the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) on many seats, despite that we are about to form another government under Nitish Kumar. This shows that Nitish Kumar’s model of development, ending mafia raj, jungle raj has found popularity among the people. We are preparing our party also to work with renewed resolve.

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When can we expect government formation efforts to reach fruition?

The results have just been out and there are some formalities that all political parties have to go through within their own set up. Appoint observers for legislative party meetings, and later to have a joint meeting of both the BJP and the Janata Dal (U) legislative parties. MLAs who have just been declared elected are slowly making their way to Patna from their areas. Government formation will happen soon, and Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister.

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The question is being asked because it was being said that following the reduction in the JD(U) numbers, Mr. Nitish Kumar was said to be sulking for the last two days and that is why it took him a while to thank the people for their support.

I have been continuously meeting him over the last two days and it is wrong to say he is either downcast or even tense. We have been reviewing the results and hence been busy.

Is the Janata Dal (U) apprehensive that the difference in the number of seats with the BJP, with you as a junior partner now, affects the authority of the Chief Minister?

We don’t have such worries and we have been meeting all senior leaders of the BJP over the last few days and no such apprehension has been expressed. We (BJP and JD-U) have been allies for a very long time and there is no plan from either side to upset the other. Nitish Kumarji’s style as Chief Minister and in terms of policy implementation has always been to take everyone along, that is not likely to change.

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You have said the LJP affected your tally. In such a situation, is the continuation of the party within the NDA fold acceptable to you?

Answer me whether you think Chirag Paswan’s continuation in the NDA is practical? On the one hand he wanted to harm the JD(U) and on the other he was praising the BJP. Is the presence of such fork-tongued people desirable in an alliance? Chirag Paswan himself and the BJP too must reflect on whether he can continue. Currently he is like a B-grade film actor who presumes too much upon his talent when the audience has a completely different opinion of his abilities. His showing in the polls is exactly that.

Also read: Bihar Assembly polls | NDA overcomes stiff challenge to retain power in Bihar

It’s being said women were the main bulwark of support for the NDA in these polls. Do you see that as an endorsement of the policy of prohibition?

Yes we do and of all the policies and programmes like the Jeevika programme that the NDA government has run for women. The policy of prohibition has been endorsed by the electorate. If there is to be some change in terms of improving its implementation etc those changes could be made, but the policy itself will stay.

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