PATNA: Gearing up to face the combined strength of Mahagathbandhan parties after JD-U broke ranks with it, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to announce its chief ministerial face for Bihar after the 2024 Lok Sabha polls to take on Nitish Kumar in the assembly polls.
Sources said a meeting of the state core committee was during the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the state and the party discussed its course of action in view of new challenges and the changed political landscape in the state.
The BJP could not project a strong face in Bihar though it grew in strength in the state as it had mostly been in alliance with JD-U with Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister.
The force with which BJP leaders have attacked Nitish Kumar after he broke the alliance and rejoined hands with RJD shows that a reconciliation in the future seems an impossibility. Sources said the state party leaders have suggested that the party should project a tall leader to take on Nitish Kumar and a decision on the candidate for the 2025 assembly poll will be taken after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP has started its mission 2024 from Seemanchal in Bihar. Sources said Shah has given a target of winning at least 32 of 40 seats in Lok Sabha elections. Shah was on a two-day visit to Bihar. He held several meetings with the state unit of the party. He held meetings with BJP workers in Kishanganj, Purnia, Araria and Katihar districts.
Shah is learnt to have told BJP leaders that the caste politics of the RJD-led alliance will not work. He is leant to have given the example of Uttar Pradesh where two major state parties had joined hands against the BJP but the party triumphed. Sources said 32 seats have been identified and party leaders have been told to make extra efforts on the remaining eight seats. Sources said there was also discussion on the demand of caste census and the difficulty of conducting it in Bihar was highlighted. Shah on Friday addressed the 'Jan Bhavna Mahasabha' rally and said that the people of the state will "wipe out the Lalu-Nitish duo" in the 2024 general elections and the party will come to power in the state in 2025. Addressing the 'Jana Bhavna Mahasabha' in Bihar's Purnea, Shah said, "In 2014, you (Bihar CM Nitish Kumar) only had 2 LS seats, 'naa ghar ke rahe the, naa ghaat ke'. Let the 2024 LS elections come, the Bihar public will wipe out the Lalu-Nitish duo. We're, with a full majority, going to come to power here in 2025 polls".
Shah further said that Nitish Kumar does not favour any political ideology, and can join hands with any party to stay in power. "Nitish Kumar is not in favour of any political ideology. Nitish ji can leave socialism and go with Lalu ji also, can do casteist politics. Nitish ji can leave socialism and sit with the Left, Congress. He may also leave RJD and join BJP. Nitish has only one policy - my chair should remain intact," he said. The Home Minister said that danger of 'Jungle-raj' is looming over Bihar".
Notably, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had parted ways with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) last month and rejoined hands with RJD to form the Mahagathbandhan government. It was in 2020 when the BJP-JDU won the election in alliance with each other in Bihar and Nitish Kumar was made the chief minister despite BJP being the single largest party.