Countdown to Bihar split in NDA begins

A few minutes of drizzle in Patna on Saturday eased the summer heat a little, but the political temperature soared feverishly as Bihar’s ruling NDA allies JD(U) and BJP breathlessly waited for a formal announcement of the end of their eight-year-old coalition state government and 17-year-old national alliance.
As relations between the two oldest NDA allies worsened rapidly in anticipation of an end of the alliance looking inevitable, senior leaders of both the parties held hectic parleys separately and a predictable blame game erupted afterwards. Chief minister and JD(U) stalwart Nitish Kumar was given an unseemly snub for the first time by two top BJP leaders — deputy-chief minister Sushil Modi and state NDA convenor Nand Kishore Yadav — as the duo disregarded Mr Kumar’s invitation to see him on Saturday.
Hours before JD(U) national president and NDA national convenor Sharad Yadav reached Patna from Delhi in the evening, Mr Kumar’s residence began receiving hundreds of JD(U) leaders reaching from across Bihar. Mr Yadav headed to Mr Kumar’s residence soon after reaching Patna for what JD(U) leaders said was to engage in “last-minute discussions” with Mr Kumar and his close aides about the fate of the coalition and the state government.
“I have just reached. Let us first have a discussion in our party. I will then speak to the media,” said Mr Yadav to journalists, refusing to elaborate. He is expected to hold a meeting of the JD(U)’s MPs, MLAs and MLCs on Sunday and weigh all the knotty options before the JD(U) before making a formal announcement.
While BJP’s Bihar president Mangal Pandey suggested that Sushil Kumar Modi and Nand Kishore Yadav did not meet Mr Kumar because the duo did not want to hear from the CM the JD(U)’s decision to snap ties with the BJP.
“It is a matter to be dealt with our central leadership. This is not a matter for the BJP’s state leaders,” said Mr Pandey.
Significantly, BJP national vice-president C.P. Thakur said the 11 ministers from the BJP in the Bihar government were likely to submit their resignation on Sunday. Party sources said this could well turn into a reality since several BJP ministers have not been attending office and signing files for the past four days.

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