Nitish Kumar is welcome if he dumps BJP: RJD : The Tribune India

Nitish Kumar is welcome if he dumps BJP: RJD

Bihar CM to meet party MLAs today

Nitish Kumar is welcome if he dumps BJP: RJD

Nitish Kumar

Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, August 8

As Bihar politics heats up amid speculation of a break-up between NDA allies BJP and JD-U, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has convened a legislative party meeting of his MLAs on Tuesday in an apparent show of strength.

A day after Nitish skipped a NITI Aayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, clearly indicating the expanding chasm between him and the BJP, political corridors remained abuzz today with talks of a “major political development in Bihar soon”.

RJD leaders said they would “embrace” Nitish if he snapped ties with the BJP. “If Nitish dumps the NDA, what choice do we have than to embrace him? The RJD is committed to fighting the BJP. If the CM decides to join the fight, we will have to take him along,” RJD’s Shivanand Tiwary was quoted as saying. Opposition RJD and Congress will also hold meetings of their respective MLAs in Patna tomorrow. Tiwary said the meetings were a clear signal that it was an extraordinary situation. “We cannot ignore the fact that both parties (JD-U and RJD), which together have sufficient numbers for a majority, have convened meetings when an Assembly session is not round the corner,” he said.

Slamming LJP chief Chirag Paswan and former Union Minister RCP Singh, JD-U national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh, dubbed the duo as “two conspiracies hatched against Nitish in recent past”.

Amid allegations that the BJP was trying to engineer a split in the JD-U with the help of RCP Singh on the lines of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, observers say Nitish’s “show of strength” was also meant to ascertain how many MLAs were with him. “Besides JD-U, the RJD and the Congress are also worried for their MLAs. The situation has been quite dynamic ever since Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda visited Patna a few days ago,” they said.

While state BJP leaders have been maintaining a silence, Chirag dared Nitish to take on the BJP directly instead of accusing him of a conspiracy. In the last Assembly polls, Chirag had fielded his own candidates in seats fought by the JD-U, resulting in electoral losses for Nitish.

Congress MLA Shakil Ahmed Khan called the developments a “good sign”. Regarding Nitish Kumar’s return to the NDA fold in 2017, citing allegations of corruption against Lalu Prasad and his family members, RJD leader Tiwary said: “In politics, we cannot remain prisoners of the past. The BJP, which has now become a behemoth, is out to destroy the Constitution. We have to respond to the challenges.”

Number game

Total seats in Bihar Assembly: 243

Ruling NDA: 126 (BJP 77, JD-U 45, HAM 4)

Oppn’s Grand Alliance: 114 (RJD 79, Cong 19, Left 16)

Others: 2 (AIMIM 1, Ind 1)

(1 seat vacant — Figures as on July 14, 2022)

#nitish kumar

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