‘Jumlebaaz mukt’ in 2024: JD(U) fires salvo at BJP after setback in Manipur

A sudden political reversal in Manipur has become the latest flashpoint between former allies BJP and JD(U). The loss of 5 MLAs in Manipur and disparaging jabs from the saffron party foreshadowing the JD(U)’s collapse has prodded the Nitish Kumar-led party to go on the offensive and vow to uproot the BJP in the 2024 elections.

THE TRIGGER

The JD(U) suffered a massive setback on Friday when five of its six MLAs joined the ruling BJP in Manipur on Friday.

This is the second blow for Nitish Kumar’s party in the last nine days. On August 25, the lone JDU MLA, Teki Kaso in Arunachal Pradesh, joined the BJP in the presence of party national president JP Nadda.

BJP MOCKS JD(U)

Soon after the induction of the Manipur JD(U) MLAs into the BJP, MP Sushil Modi took a swipe at Nitish Kumar, saying states like Manipur and Arunachal have become “JD(U)-mukt”.

“Very soon Laluji will make Bihar also JD(U) free,” Sushil Modi jibed.

JD(U) FIRES BACK

Asking Sushil Modi not to “daydream”, JD(U) national President Rajiv Ranjan aka Lalan Singh said the BJP will be decimated in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

In a series of tweets, Lalan Singh accused the saffron party of not adhering to coalition “dharma” in Arunachal Pradesh and said the developments in Manipur had exposed the ruling party. He also asserted that the BJP cannot stop the JD(U) from becoming a force to be reckoned with at the national level.

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“In 2024, the country will become ‘Jumlebaaz Mukt’,” he said, in an oblique dig at PM Modi.

JD(U) spokesperson and former minister Neeraj Kumar also lashed out at the BJP for using money power to get JD(U) lawmakers to cross over.

“This is the character of BJP of backstabbing alliance partners. First they engineered defection of seven of our legislators in Arunachal Pradesh and now five legislators in Manipur. We had won elections in these states on our own. This is the new character of BJP which does not want others small parties to grow. People of the country are seeing everything and Janata Dal United will finish BJP in 2024,” Neeraj Kumar said.

‘NATIONAL ROLE’ FOR NITISH?

Meanwhile, top JD(U) leaders and office bearers assembled in Patna on Saturday for the party’s two-day national executive meeting, a crucial plenary where the party is expected to discuss forging a more prominent role for itself at the national level.

The agenda would also include organisational polls and a fresh membership drive, though a “national role” for de facto leader Nitish Kumar is likely to dominate the narrative.

Banners put up at the JD(U) headquarters bore slogans that sent across the message loud and clear that the party expected Nitish Kumar to take on the mantle of Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2024 polls.

(With PTI inputs)

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