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For BJP, there is no fight in Bihar: Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi

Tejashwi’s and RJD’s moves are not worth commenting on. They are fighting on just 17 seats all over India, the Bihar deputy CM said.

, ET Bureau|
Apr 13, 2019, 11.00 PM IST
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Sushil Kumar Modi said BJP will win by a minimum of 2 lakh votes in Patna Sahib as there is no factor in favour of BJP turncoat Shatrughan Sinha.
BJP is going to the polls for the first time after the return of Nitish Kumar to NDA. What are your prospects?
In 1999 Lok Sabha polls, NDA won 41 out of 54 seats in combined Bihar. In 2009, we won 32 out of 40 (with JDU). In 2014, we fought separately and won 31 seats. NDA, whichever be the partner, won 31 or 32 seats at least. Even when Lalu was out of jail, Rabri and Misa lost.

In 2009, Lalu was the rail mantri and won only four seats. In 2014, he won four seats. Nitish joining us makes NDA stronger; so does Ram Vilas Paswan. All three are together now.

There is no fight. There was a 10% vote share gap between UPA and NDA in 2014 and if we add Nitish’s share, it rises to 17-18%. We will improve our tally to 36-38. We are the ruling party in the state and the Centre. In 2014, we were neither at the state nor at the Centre.

Lalu has alleged that Nitish contacted him six months after joining NDA, to propose a return to the alliance.
It is for JDU to contradict. BJP is nowhere in picture but JDU has also said the claim is false.

How do you see the fight between Tejashwi and Tej Pratap?
It is not just a fight between two brothers but a larger tussle among their allies: RJD, Congress, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party or Hindustani Awam Morcha. Because of the infighting they still could not finalize candidates for Madhubani, Valmiki Nagar etc. It’s a namesake mahagatbandhan that has disintegrated even before it could be formed.

What about Muslim-Yadav (MY) factor? Is that a threat to NDA?
Where did the MY factor go in 1999, 2004, 2009 or 2014? Just as in 2014, a big part of their MY votes is going to vote for Modi.

BJP gave away five sitting MP seats to JDU.Did that go down well in the party?
In return, Nitish Kumar, a strong partner, has come our way. He has also sacrificed eight seats. He used to fight on 25 seats, which was more than what we fought on. Not just BJP but JDU, too, has made a sacrifice. Now we are fighting on equal number of seats (17 each). Give and take is part of any alliance.

What about Patna Sahib, with BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha joining the Congress?
BJP will win by a minimum of 2 lakh votes. There is no factor in his favour. We have five MLAs out of six in the constituency. Patna Sahib remains one of the strongest seats of the BJP. Sinha today will not get a polling agent to sit at his booth. He must exit gracefully and join the Yashwant Sinha club but he is hell bent on facing the embarrassment at this stage of his life.

How do you see Tejashwi’s promise of reservation on the basis of population?
Tejashwi’s and RJD’s moves are not worth commenting on. They are fighting on just 17 seats all over India. Is he going to form the government at Centre that he is making such tall claims?

Former allies RLSP and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) are now with the mahagatbandhan. Will this hurt NDA?
We gave 20 seats to RLSP in 2015 Vidhan Sabha; they could win only two seats. We have seen their strength. Similarly we have seen Manjhi’s capacity. We are very happy that they are gone. They wasted our seats. Neither can they transfer their votes nor win seats. Achha hai hume mukti mil gayee (We are relieved that they have left). This election is a referendum in the name of Narendra Modi and people of Bihar will vote only for him.

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