Situation difficult, says Nitish, BJP upset

Patna, June 14 (IANS) Amid increasingly strained relations within Bihar's ruling coalition, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar admitted Friday that the situation was "difficult now".

Most BJP ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, skipped office for a second straight day Friday.

"The situation is difficult now," he told the media on his return to Patna after concluding Sewa Yatra, when asked about the relations between his Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The chief minister then recited an Urdu couplet: "Dua dete hai jeene ki, dawa dete hai marne ki."

Without taking names, he said some BJP leaders wanted the 17-year-old alliance between the two parties in the state to continue "but are not ready to listen us".

Nitish Kumar said JD-U leaders will discuss the state of affairs. "We will decide what to do after deliberating in the party."

According to JD-U leaders, Nitish Kumar will first meet party leaders considered close to him to get their feedback and some other colleagues Saturday.

The "final meeting" on the subject is likely to be held Saturday night or Sunday morning in the presence of JD-U president Sharad Yadav, a party source said.

There are 11 BJP ministers in the Nitish Kumar-led government.

Relations between the two hit a low after Nitish Kumar came out publicly against his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial choice of the BJP.

The JD-U also expressed unhappiness over BJP leader L.K. Advani's decision to give up key party posts. BJP leaders have accused the JD-U of interfering in BJP's internal affairs.

Also Friday, Bihar BJP president Mangal Pandey said the JD-U will be responsible if the alliance collapsed in the state.

The BJP has also called a meeting of party leaders at Sushil Modi's residence to discuss the strained ties between the BJP and JD-U.

"It is an emergency situation, so more meetings would be held to chalk out a strategy," BJP's C.P. Thakur told the media.

The JD-U is believed to be gearing up for life without the BJP.

According to JD-U leaders, the party is in touch with over a dozen BJP legislators including ministers.

There was some good news for the JD-U though. Four of the six independent legislators have announced their support to the government.

Even the Congress, with four legislators, is likely to support Nitish Kumar if he dumps the BJP.

The JD-U has 118 legislators, four short of majority in the house of 243 members.


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