Patna was abuzz with rumours that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) could break his alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Kumar is looking to dissolve the state assembly and rejoin the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is what is being whispered in political circles, though there are no confirmed reports.
This may mean that Kumar’s JD(U) will part ways with the Congress as well as the fledgling INDIA bloc of opposition parties
The official word from Nitish Kumar’s party JD(U) was that there is nothing wrong with the alliance, but it is clear that all is not well between it and the RJD.
Both Kumar and the state’s deputy chief minister (and Lalu Prasad’s son) Tejashwi Yadav held meetings independently to discuss the road ahead, even as state BJP leaders were summoned to Delhi to meet party chief JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah.
On Wednesday, while participating in the centenary celebrations of socialist Janata leader Karpoori Thakur (awarded the Bharat Ratna on Monday by the Union government), Kumar spoke up against dynastic politics, widely seen as aimed at the RJD.
On Thursday, Lalu Prasad’s daughter Rohini Acharya wrote on X: ‘Those who claim to be socialist change their ideology like wind; what is the point when the problem is with self. There is no reason to get dejected as the inevitable will happen. Often some people are unable to see their own deficiencies but throw mud at others.’
RJD MP Manoj Jha said the media is trying to read too much. ‘In politics and during election time, a lot of things happen. If we have to unitedly fight for a bigger cause, small differences don’t matter. We should not speculate too much on the basis of a tweet that was not from any party functionary,’ Jha said.
JD(U) general secretary KC Tyagi said: ‘Who is she (Rohini)? Children should not speak on matters of elders. That is our tradition also.’
JD(U) leader Lallan Singh, who recently gave up the party chief’s post at the insistence of Kumar who took it on himself, was becoming too close to Lalu Prasad, which may have been seen by Kumar as an effort by the RJD to make inroads into the JD(U).
Kumar is also being seen as dissatisfied with the INDIA bloc, an alliance which he got together, but seeing very little say in.
In a January meeting of members of the alliance, Kumar declined to be the convenor of the opposition alliance, citing ‘lack of consensus’ as West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and SP president Akhilesh Yadav were not present at the meeting.
The parties decided to appoint Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge as the alliance president.
Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi said the sole objective of Lalu Prasad was to install Tejashwi Yadav as CM, which Kumar would never allow.
‘Both are moving in opposite directions and there cannot be any union. There may be a new equation and Nitish Kumar may rejoin the NDA. Wait till January 31. Bihar is heading for change,’ he said.
While Nitish Kumar has called all JD(U) MLAs to his residence in Patna, the Lalu Yadav camp has begun calculations in order to reach the mark of 122 in the Bihar Assembly.
Yadav spoke to Assembly Speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary, Thursday and the Deputy Speaker Maheswar Hazari has also cancelled his out-of-state tour in view of the situation.
Amid the speculation ahead of Lok Sabha elections, BJP may not be in a mood to accept him as Chief Minister again, according to sources and a compromise could only be possible only if Kumar resigns as Chief Minister and gives the post to the BJP.
If Kumar pulls the JD(U) out of ‘Mahagathbandhan’, RJD would need eight more MLAs to reach the magical mark of 122 in Bihar Assembly.
Current seat distribution in Bihar Assembly:
- RJD: 79
- BJP: 78
- JD(U): 45
- CONGRESS: 19
- LEFT PARTIES: 16
- HAM (S): 4
- AIMIM: 1
- IND: 1
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