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Nitish to formally join NDA

Published on 13 Aug. 2017 12:12 AM IST
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Bihar chief minister and Janta Dal (United) national president Nitish Kumar is expected to formally announce his decision to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the party’s national executive meeting in Patna on August 19.
Nitish’s return to NDA fold has bolstered the prospects for NDA in 2019 general elections and he is tipped to play a bigger role in that process. Sources close to Nitish told News18 that he would be made convenor of the NDA, the stature once enjoyed by George Fernandes and Sharad Yadav.
JD(U) leaders said this was only a formality after Nitish came out of Mahagathbandhan and formed a new government in the state along with the BJP-led NDA.
Meanwhile, veteran JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, who opposed the party’s decision to ally with the BJP in Bihar, was on Saturday removed as leader of JD(U) in the Rajya Sabha. The action against Yadav came as BJP president Amit Shah announced that he had formally invited Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to join the NDA.
On Saturday, JD(U) members of the Upper House members backing Nitish met Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu to hand him a letter appointing R.C.P. Singh as their leader in place of Yadav in the House.
After formally joining NDA, JD(U) would be offered two ministerial berths in the Centre – one of cabinet rank and the other as minister of state. “However it will take time and would delay cabinet reshuffle as the party will try to replace Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar with new members in the Rajya Sabha. If they do not resign on their own, they can then go to the disciplinary committee as both are engaged in anti party activities. If this does not work, there are other ways to ensure their ouster from the Rajya Sabha,” sources said.
JD(U), after switching sides took tough stand and suspended lawmaker Ali Anwar Ansari from the party for attending a meeting of opposition parties Friday convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
JD(U) has two MPs in the Lok Sabha and nine in Rajya Sabha, which is very crucial for the BJP considering it is in minority in the Upper House.
Party’s national general secretary KC Tyagi said, “Nitish Kumar himself will moot the proposal which will be passed unanimously. This is a historic moment for Bihar when the same alliance is at the helm of affairs in the state and at the Centre. The combined efforts of Centre and state will help the state reach new heights of development.”

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