Sushil Modi dismisses reports of strain, says Bihar polls will be fought under Nitish Kumar’s leadership

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi. (File)

The Bihar Assembly elections to be held next year will be fought under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi announced in the Assembly Monday, dispelling speculations of a rift between the two allies.

"Reports in the media often leave doubts in the minds of the people as to whether the NDA will remain intact or not. Let me tell the people of the state from this House that we will be contesting the Assembly polls next year under the leadership of Nitish Kumar," Modi, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said while replying to the debate on the Appropriation Bill, which was passed by the House.

The JD(U)-BJP coalition government has come under some strain ever since a letter from the Special Branch of the state s Intelligence Wing was leaked last week.

Explained | What s behind the latest strain in Bihar s ruling coalition government

In this letter, originally issued on May 28, all subordinate offices were asked to furnish details (address etc.) about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and 18 of its allied organisations such as the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) etc.

Even though the two parties have forged a very successful alliance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, there has been some discord over the JD(U) s involvement in the Central ministerial portfolios. When the NDA returned to power for a second term, Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) did not accept the offer of symbolic representation at the Centre.

The Bihar government had later expanded its Cabinet, inducting eight ministers all from the JD(U).