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In NDA now, Nitish Kumar shifts focus to action in Delhi

Nitish Kumar is one leader who has direct access to the BJP’s top leaders and thus, he can easily handle all the union ministers who are from Bihar.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 21, 2017, 01.28 AM IST
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Nitish Kumar has the responsibility to ensure that the NDA puts up a good show in Bihar in the coming LS polls.
Nitish Kumar has the responsibility to ensure that the NDA puts up a good show in Bihar in the coming LS polls.
NEW DELHI: With Janata Dal (United) formally becoming a part of NDA, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar now faces a new challenge to make his presence felt in national politics. In the new political equation, Kumar may have to make an aggressive push to advance his position within the NDA to ensure that his state gets a good share of central resources to fund his development agenda.

Although he runs his government with BJP’s support in the state, his party has only two members in the Lok Sabha and nine in the Rajya Sabha, including two rebels –– Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar.

The two RS members have already gone against the party line on tie-up with BJP. As things stand today, his party may get two ministerial berths in the union ministry. His speech, delivered at the national executive meeting in Patna on Saturday, clearly indicated that he has an inkling about the difficult tasks in store for him.

So, he did not miss the opportunity to thank the NDA-led central government for offering quick assistance to tackle the flood crisis in Bihar. This was a clear message to the Centre that his state should get adequate financial support to help flood victims in future. A section of JDU leaders felt that he might be offered the post of convener within the NDA in the new situation. “Kumar is considered to be a liberal face within the NDA camp. As convener, he would be in a better position to deal with regional forces in different states,” a source in JDU told ET.

Moreover, Kumar is one leader who has direct access to the BJP’s top leaders and thus, he can easily handle all the union ministers who are from Bihar. A source in JDU said the BJP has brought Kumar into the NDA camp with an eye on the 2019 LS polls. Thus, Kumar has the responsibility to ensure that the NDA puts up a good show in Bihar in the coming LS polls. As an NDA ally, Kumar is expected to extract maximum help from the central government to expedite his development agenda in the state.

“If he becomes convener of NDA, he would get the opportunity to frequently meet BJP national president Amit Shah to discuss the NDA’s political strategies. It would be an advantage for him to seek his help in case there is any delay in centrally-sponsored schemes meant for Bihar,” the source further added.

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