Speculations are rife that the ruling Bihar Grand Alliance of JD(U)-RJD-Congress is heading for a split. At the root of such speculation is Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to support BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 poll. Kumar’s decision had irked RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav so much that at one point of time the former Bihar CM said it would be the biggest mistake of JD(U) to support Kovind.
On Tuesday, senior Congress Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also took a jibe at Kumar, saying those who have one principle take one decision and those who have many take different decisions. The JD(U) found Azad’s remarks “not in good taste”, “unfriendly” and “unwarranted”. Senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told reporters on Tuesday, “Azad’s comments are not in good taste. These are unfriendly and unwarranted. We have never made critical remarks against Congress leaders.”
Tyagi even wondered why Congress seemed bent on pushing the Grand Alliance towards break-up. “Our support to Kovind is an isolated incident. Why are some people bent on making it permanent with such comments and shortening the life of our grand alliance?”
Tyagi denied that JD(U) will again ally with the BJP but couldn’t stop fueling the speculations. He said that JD(U) had “natural relations” with BJP when it was a part of BJP-led NDA.
In a Facebook Post, JD(U) leader Sanjay Jha attacked Congress for questioning the principles of Nitish Kumar. Jha said, “A Congress leader has given a statement on Nitish Kumar’s principles. This leader is the member of the same Congress Youth Brigade which was busy trampling democratic values and principles during Emergency. I would like to remind the senior Congress leader that Nitish Kumar had to spend 19 months in jail, along with lakhs of others across the country, because of the principles of the Congress and youth leaders like him.”
Jha also took a dig on Congress for fielding Meira Kumar for the Presidential Election 2017. “Today Congress has suddenly remembered Late Jagjivan Babu. They should not forget that how he was harassed in the name of Income Tax during Emergency. This was the reason why Jagjivan Ram whad left Congress after Emergency,” Jha wrote.
For now, it appears that the JD(U) is undecided about the future of the Grand Alliance. The party has planned to attack the Centre along with other Opposition parties, including Congress, outside and inside the Parliament on farmers’ issue after July 17.
The JD(U) is also apparently not having good times with the RJD. The string of cases against Lalu’s sons and other relatives has only increased JD(U)’s dilemma.
On Presidential election, Lalu had accused JD(U) of colluding with BJP to defeat “Bihar ik Beti” (Bihar’s daughter) Meira Kumar, who is the Opposition Presidential candidate. However, JD(U) says that numbers are in favour of Kovind and Congress has fielded Meira Kumar, a Dalit leader from Bihar, only for defeat.
On Tuesday, Tyagi also said that the JD(U) used to feel comfortable in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA but there is no chance of friendship with present-day NDA.
Meanwhile, Lalu has reportedly tried to bridge differences with Nitish by talking over phone. It is believed that both leaders have decided that their party members would not speak against each other. But this truce could be temporary.
Senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi claims he would create a situation where Nitish Kumar would have to sack Prasad’s minister-sons as they have allegedly amassed Benami properties. “I’ll create a situation where Nitish Kumar will have no option but to dismiss these two ministers (Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Prasad Yadav),” Modi was quoted as saying by PTI on Tuesday. If Modi succeeds, it would be difficult to sustain the Grand Alliance.
According to a report by Hindi Daily Prabhat Khabar, Bihar Congress has said that Congress high command in Delhi would review the statements by JD(U) leaders, not the state unit.