Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah exchange greetings before a breakfast meeting at the state guest house, in Patna. Image Credit: PTI

Patna: Amid continuing speculations over the fate of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah Thursday said his party’s alliance with the Janata Dal United (JD-U) was intact and would make a clean sweep in the next 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“Those expecting a fight between us (BJP and JD-U) must know that we are here to win all the 40 LS seats in Bihar. We know how to deal with our allies,” Shah told a meeting of his party workers in Patna on Thursday, setting at rest the speculations of split in the NDA.

The announcement came shortly after Shah met chief minister Nitish Kumar in the morning over breakfast. He will also join the dinner hosted by the chief minister at his residence in the evening at which both leaders are scheduled to discuss the thorny issue of seat-sharing which has become a bone of contention between the two parties.

The JD-U headed by Kumar has staked claim for the lion’s share of LS seats in Bihar, describing itself as the “Big Brother” because it had won more seats than the BJP in the assembly elections held in 2015. The BJP on the other hand wants that the seat-sharing to be done on the basis of the 2014 LS polls when the NDA had emerged victorious, winning 31 of Bihar’s total 40 seats.

The BJP alone had won 22 seats while its two allies, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) had bagged six and three seats, respectively. In sharp contrast, the JD-U, which had not been a part of the NDA then, had won only two seats yet.

Given this background, the meeting of the chief minister with Shah assumes much significance. Informed sources said both the leaders are expected to discuss the seat-sharing issue in detail to remove anomalies and get ready for the next elections.

Just before Shah’s visit, leaders from both parties indulged in a bitter war of words. But keeping in view the seriousness of the situation, both the parties had issued orders to their spokespersons, warning them against speaking anything against each other in public.

The situation at one point had deteriorated to such a level that the JD-U had reportedly opened channels with the opposition Grand Alliance, especially with the Congress, to jump the NDA boat. But the RJD headed by Lalu Prasad had refused to tango, prompting the latter to patch up with the NDA.