The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Sunday said that it would "like" to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with its coalition partner BJP while stressing that there was no question of patching up with the "corrupt" Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
"Today at our National Executive we discussed the strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Though there was no formal resolution passed, but it was a sort of consensus that we would like to go into the polls in alliance with the BJP.
"It would put to rest all sorts of speculations in the media that we are going to break away from the BJP," JD-U Secretary General KC Tyagi told IANS.
Hours after Tyagi briefed the media about the meet, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi tweeted that the JD-U has passed a resolution in its National Executive that it will contest Lok Sabha elections in 2019 with BJP.
Tyagi ruled out the possibilities of re-aligning with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) but kept the options open for Congress on the conditions that the party should clear its stand about Lalu Prasad's party.
"Our leader Nitish Kumar had met Rahul Gandhi (before ditching the grand alliance) and apprised him about the corrupt Lalu Prasad family. But he (Gandhi) didn't do anything to stop the grand alliance from disintegrating. Rahul Gandhi's stand on corruption is not clear. Until or unless the Congress makes its stand clear about the corrupt RJD, how can we communicate with it," he said.
"Our leader Nitish Kumar's message is very clear. Our party will not compromise on the corruption, crime and communalism," he said, adding the JD-U was firm on maintaining these principles.
Asked if he was hinting at JD-U being open to coming back to a Congress-led alliance sans RJD, Tyagi told IANS: "You are free to draw your own inferences."
"Some media reports say we are helping BJP but we are neither supporting them nor opposing them... we are not helping them," he told reporters.
Addressing the National Executive members, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made it clear that there were no official talks yet about seat-sharing with the BJP but the party can't be taken for granted.
"We had got 17 per cent of vote share in 2014 when we were crossing through difficult times. So no one can ignore us. Those who ignore us will be ignored by the people of Bihar," a source present in the meeting quoted him as saying.
The National Executive also authorised Nitish Kumar to take decisions in regards to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
During the meet, the party passed two resolutions - one supporting the idea of holding simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, and the other opposing the Assam Citizenship Amendment Bill.
The developments come ahead of BJP President Amit Shah's visit to Bihar next week.