» News » Nitish Kumar must contest from Phulpur in UP, says JD-U leader

Nitish Kumar must contest from Phulpur in UP, says JD-U leader

By Abhinav Pandey
May 30, 2023 15:13 IST
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Senior Janata Dal-United leader Dhananjay Singh pitched for Opposition unity ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and said party workers in Uttar Pradesh want Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to contest the elections from the state's Phulpur constituency.

IMAGE: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Photograph: ANI Photo

Singh said the party is trying to unite the Opposition, including the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress, ahead of the 2024 parliamentary polls to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party from returning to power.

"The party also wants Nitish Kumarji to contest from the Phulpur seat in the state (Uttar Pradesh)," he told PTI.


JD-U leaders are eyeing the Phulpur constituency -- earlier represented by former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and VP Singh -- as contestants of the Kurmi (Patel) caste, to which Nitish Kumar belongs, have won from the seat a record eight times.

Phulpur's current MP, Keshari Devi Patel of the BJP, is also a Kurmi.

Speaking on Opposition unity, Singh said, "We feel that it is necessary to stop the BJP from returning to power. This is very much possible if the Opposition unites and the election becomes NDA versus UPA.

"Our leaders are trying to bring the SP, BSP and the Congress together in the state. The RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal) is already with the SP," Singh, the national general secretary of the JD-U, said.

At 80, Uttar Pradesh sends the highest number of members to the Lok Sabha.

Asked if the BSP would accept the offer of unity, Singh said, "We are hopeful."

Kumar recently met with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow as part of his efforts to bring together opposition parties under one umbrella.

He has also met Congress chief Malllikarjum Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.

Sources in the party said the Bihar chief minister is banking on the Congress to bring Mayawati on board.

The BJP, along with its ally Apna Dal-Sonelal, won 64 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2019, while the BSP, SP and the Congress bagged 10, five and one, respectively.

Singh said it is necessary to be strong on the ground to defeat the BJP. He added that the SP performed well in the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, increasing its tally in the House.

"If we contest unitedly, we can win 50-plus seats in the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh. It is Nitishji's desire that the entire UPA contests polls together to take the BJP head-on.

"Three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand -- have 134 parliamentary seats in total. We are vying to win over 60-70 per cent seats. The groundwork of the party is on in Uttar Pradesh also and our party is preparing to contest on six seats in the state," the JD-U leader said.

Kumar, along with his deputy in Bihar Tejashwi Yadav, also met with Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as part of efforts to unite the opposition.

On talks about seat-sharing with other parties in Uttar Pradesh, Singh said, "It is too early for seat-sharing talks. But it will not be a problem once the alliance is finalised."

"As of now, we are working on Jaunpur, Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, Basti and Phulpur seats," he added.

Singh was elected to Lok Sabha from the Jaunpur seat in 2009 on a BSP ticket. The BSP's Shayam Singh Yadav is currently the MP from the seat.

"The BJP is nowhere in states like West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. If we can succeed in our strategy for the three states of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, the BJP's tally will not cross 200," he added. 

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Abhinav Pandey in Lucknow
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