The national executive of ruling Janata Dal (United) on Monday decided to take a shot at expanding its national presence by contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in several states, saying its “tie-up with BJP was limited only to Bihar”.
The national executive members were unanimous in authorising party president and chief minister Nitish Kumar to take a decision on the issue.
The meeting, which was expected to announce the likely seats to be contested by the JD(U), did not take up the issue. “The specific seats for the three alliance partners would be announced shortly,” said RCP Singh, JD(U) national general secretary and Rajya Sabha member.
The JD(U), BJP and LJP will contest 17-17-6 seats as part of their deal.
JD(U)’s national general secretary KC Tyagi said there was a consensus on the need for the party to explore options for expanding outside Bihar.
The meeting gave its nod for the constitution of a three-member committee, comprising KC Tyagi, RCP Singh and Prashant Kishor, for holding preliminary talks with the heads of respective state units for evaluating prospects and apprising the chief minister on the issue.
“While JD(U) national president had announced the candidate for lone LS seat from Lakshadweep, we will explore the option of contesting some of the seats in Northeast, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh,” he said.
JD(U)’s stand on Citizenship Amendment Bill and its opposition to its passage in the Rajya Sabha has brought the party in reckoning in states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, Tyagi claimed.
However, party’s electoral foray in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat in assembly elections had not yielded desired results.
It also failed in Assam and Kerala, whereas it has decided to opt out of the UP assembly elections in the past. In Nagaland, the party won one seat.
The Election Commission’s criteria mandates a party to get at least 6% of the votes from a minimum of four states, or 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three states, or be recognised as a state party in at least four states to qualify as a national party.
Tyagi said the party’s views on disputed issues, when it joined NDA in 1997, remained the same. “We are opposed to any murmur for the dilution of Article 370 and 35A in J&K and believe that SC verdict on Ramjanambhoomi was the only way forward as the prospect of resolution through negotiation has dimmed completely,” he said.
The JD(U) also demanded that the Centre come out with an ordinance for the reinstatement of old roster system in the appointments in central universities after Supreme Court’s rejection of appeal against a judgment of the Allahabad High Court.
Tyagi said the party would not compromise its stand with any attempt to dilute existing quotas. “JD(U) president Ntish Kumar is a strong votary for reservation in judiciary as he believes it to be an instrument for social change,” he said.