The BJP is gearing up for presidential election and has begun reaching out to its allies amid indications that the opposition will field a joint candidate for the post.
Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan had a two-hour meeting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday and the two leaders discussed various issues including the presidential and vice presidential elections, sources said.
They said that the BJP has stepped up preparations for the presidential election to be held before the last week of July. The party is also gearing up for vice-presidential election. Dharamendra Pradhan's meeting with Nitish Kumar gains significance as the Janata Dal-United leader has in the past supported presidential nominees of rival parties.
In 2012, he had supported Pranab Mukherjee despite being part of the NDA. In the last election, he had supported NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind though he was part of Grand Alliance in Bihar at that time.
The sources said that the decision to send Pradhan to meet Kumar was taken after deliberations by the BJP's central leadership. They said that Pradhan is likely to visit other states including Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Bihar Education Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary also joined the meeting, the sources said.
They said there could be reshuffle of BJP ministers in the alliance government in Bihar and "non-performing ministers" could be replaced with new faces.
The sources said there was also discussion about Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant from the state.
The Nitish Kumar cabinet has scope for expansion and six more ministers can be appointed.
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