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    Nitish Kumar to attend NDA dinner today as Bihar CM fuels speculation on his next course of action

    Nitish Kumar to attend NDA dinner today as Bihar CM fuels speculation on his next course of action

    Nitish Kumar to attend NDA dinner today as Bihar CM fuels speculation on his next course of action
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    By CNBC-TV18  IST (Published)

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    BJP president Amit Shah will be hosting top NDA leaders over dinner later in the day in New Delhi and the meeting is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will be attending the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) dinner on Tuesday in New Delhi, after reports that the Janata Dal (United) chief may skip the meeting and instead send his party’s Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament RCP Singh in his stead.
    BJP president Amit Shah will be hosting top NDA leaders over dinner later in the day in New Delhi and the meeting is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI had reported citing sources.
    Nitish will be attending the meeting along with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Lok Janshakti Party head Ram Vilas Paswan, Tamil Nadu NDA leaders, including chief minister K Palaniswami.
    A meeting of key BJP leaders, including Union Ministers and Modi, is also scheduled to be held in the party headquarters before the dinner meeting with allies, PTI had added.
    The confusion over Nitish's status on attending the NDA meeting came close on the heels of his criticism of BJP's Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur for calling Mahatama Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot.
    Speaking to reporters after casting his vote on Sunday in Patna, the JDU leader had said: "It is condemnable. What action the party takes is their internal matter. We should not tolerate such a statement.”
    When asked if the BJP should expel Thakur from the party, he replied "it must be considered" but also reiterated his statement that "it is an internal matter for the BJP".
    The chief minister’s statement, however, did not find favour with Rabri Devi who said: “If he is so troubled by Pragya Thakur, then he should resign from the government."
    Apart from his criticism on Thakur’s Godse statement, Nitish had also questioned the Election Commission's poll schedule spread over seven phases and with a long gap between each phase of voting. He had said that he will write to leaders of all parties to build a consensus on this.
    Nitish skipping the NDA dinner could have been interpreted otherwise as a move to keep options open ahead of the Lok Sabha elections results outcome on May 23.
    While exit polls have largely predicted a comfortable win for the BJP-led NDA, including News18 Ipsos exit poll, the Congress-led UPA and other opposition parties have rejected these projections and have maintained that results will not be in NDA’s favour.
    In last few years, Nitish has played his cards well switching between different political alliances depending on circumstances from his opposition to Modi’s candidature ahead of the 2014 General Elections to contesting against the BJP as part of the RJD alliance and subsequent return to the NDA fold.
    At the core of his political decision remains his bid to ideologically distinguish his party from the BJP, particularly the extreme sections within the saffron party.
    In this edition of Lok Sabha polls, the JDU and BJP contested on 17 seats each in Bihar as per the seat-sharing agreement announced in mid-March. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP contested on six seats.
    In 2014, the JDU which contested separately, had won just two seats, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal won only four seats. The Congress won two while the Nationalist Congress Party won one seat.
    The BJP-led NDA wrested 31 seats along with allies LJP and Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party. The saffron party won 22, LJP 6 and RLSP 3 seats out of 40 parliamentary constituencies at stake.
    Bihar saw polling in seven phases like Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
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