Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi who returned from his foreign vacation a few days back has expressed his desire to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. According to NDTV sources, Rahul has made it clear to his party in Bihar that the alliance with Janata Dal United (JDU) must be uregently restored. It is reported that he will organise a meeting with Opposition leaders next week and will meet with Nitsh Kumar separately. Bihar is currently ruled by Nitish Kumar-led JDU which is in alliance with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJP) and Congres. Together the alliance is called Mahagathbandhan. Earlier, last month Nitish Kumar turned down his partners and decided to support the centre’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind for President of India polls. The Congress and Lalu Yadav are part of a 17-party bloc that has put up a rival candidate. According to the NDTV report, Rahul Gandhi has communicated to the Nitish Kumar that a meeting of opposition parties next week will be organised to suit the Bihar CM’s convenience.
The topics to be discussed in the meeting will include farmer distress, the series of mob attacks by self-declared cow-vigilantes, and lack of employement opportunities for young people. Nitish Kumar told NDTV that he is still committed to opposition unity and the support for the BJP’s President candidate is different. The decision taken by the Bihar CM sure had gathered a lot of criticism. Rahul Gandhi chose to fly abroad as his party was trying to identify a united opposition candidate for President; he did not rush back when the alliance in Bihar appeared to breach the danger mark.
His party says his mother, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, was there to handle the crisis. But given that he is expected to take her place as top boss by October, his absence was read as a lack of commitment, an accusation frequently levelled at him by critics.