After the Shiv Sena, an embattled BJP partner in Maharashtra, declaring the mandate by people of Gujarat as a moral victory for the Congress, the JD(U) has also come up with its own advice. The party has sought from the central government an increased focus on rural sector as the BJP performed poorly in the rural areas of Gujarat.
Sanjay Jha, the JD(U) general secretary and close aide of Nitish Kumar, believes rural areas will decide the fate of 2019 general elections.
“Our Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi had vowed to double farmers' income by 2022. However nothing much is visible on the ground. This is an area where the union government should focus on,” he said.
Earlier, another JD(U) leader, KC Tyagi, told the government to focus on the next budget, extend sops to the rural sector and increase layouts for farmers.
The JD(U) camp never wanted a clean sweep for the BJP as it could have further bolstered the saffron rank and file. At the same time, a defeat for the BJP could have put Nitish under immense pressure. So, a wafer thin majority has ensured that the BJP will now be more accommodative with other alliance partners of National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Politically, Bihar would be a state to watch out for in 2019, Sanjay Jha said, adding that Nitish’s push for development with social justice would be crucial for the NDA in the state.
Before the counting for Gujarat and Himachal, Lalu Prasad Yadav, leader of the main opposition party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), had predicted President rule in the state if BJP got a big victory. The Lalu camp has gone completely silent after the verdict.
The RJD and the Congress have said Nitish played into the hands of BJP and got a raw deal in exchange for 2019.
The NDA won 31 seats out of 40 in 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the JD(U) fought alone. Based on this it was assumed that Nitish Kumar’s party will get fewer seats unlike earlier when it contested on more seats than the BJP. But putting this debate to rest, Sanjay Jha quipped, “Who knows seat sharing has not been sealed off even for assembly elections slated in 2020?.”