Retaliating to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar statement blaming Congress for the ‘current mess in Opposition’, Abhishek Singhvi who is Congress’ spokesperson said that some parties are trying to exacerbate the difference between the two parties and stated that the fluctuation over the presidential elections is a chapter that is over now. Even Janata Dal United (JDU) chief said that the grand alliance in Bihar which includes Rashrtiya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress is unbreakable. However, the Bihar CM also said that on a national level, Congress is the biggest party in Opposition camp and it has to take the initiative to set an agenda, reported Indian Express.
Nitish Kumar, during JDU’s executive meet on Sunday, had said that “it is because of the Congress that we could not have an alliance in UP, it was because of the Congress that we could not have an alliance in Assam, and the Congress did not take us into confidence during the presidential polls as well”.
The report also stated that several senior Congress leaders admitted to a mishandling of ties with the Bihar Chief Minister after the JD(U) decided to back NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential elections. The Congress said that Bihar CM should have been more careful while taking his stand since he had taken the lead in fielding a joint Opposition candidate. The grand old party has also decided to reach out to Nitish Kumar in the coming days to placate him.
Sources from both the parties has said that despite such statements there were still some conflicting streams of thought. Speaking to Indian Express on the issue, a senior Congress leader said, “The problem is that a strong section of the leadership, which worked with Lalu Prasad during the UPA, is comfortable with the RJD. This old school is pulling things in the other direction. Remember, the old school was averse to Nitish’s projection as the chief ministerial candidate in Bihar and it was the new school of thought that prevailed, which resulted in the election success of 2015.
IE Sources in the JDU have informed that a strong section in the party wants to use the NDA option to bargain for a frontier position within the united Opposition. During a press meet, Bihar CM said, “Alternative politics is the demand of the current time. The Congress, which is the largest party in Opposition, has to take the initiative to set an agenda before the people and tell them how it wants to take the country along. I am not the Opposition candidate for Prime Minister for 2019. My priority is to fulfill my promises made to the people of Bihar. I have got a Bihar mandate.”
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Further, criticising the Congress, he said, “At a time when the Opposition should have kept the heat on the farmers’ issue, it got embroiled in politics over the presidential polls. Talking only about unity and forging an alliance at the national level would not serve any purpose, we have to stand united on important and core issues.”
When asked about Ghulam Nabi Azad’s recent remarks, which has reportedly angered Nitish, the senior leader told Indian Express, “The old leadership seems to be going about it in the old way, which resulted in the mishandling”.