On Monday, Nitish Kumar had called RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav who is in Mumbai due to poor health. But it was made known to media on Tuesday.
A huge political drama unfolded in Bihar on Tuesday following media reports that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar telephoned RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to enquire about his health. The move triggered instant speculation that Nitish wanted to return to the ‘Mahagathbandhan’, given his recent statements that have been seen as veiled attacks at its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party. Though RJD dubbed Kumar’s gesture as nothing more than a courtesy call to enquire about Lalu who is unwell for the last few months, observers drew a quick link to his party’s ongoing standoff with the BJP on the issue of seat-sharing in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Debunking all speculation though was Lalu’s son and Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav. The junior Yadav said that the doors of the ‘Grand Alliance’ are closed for him, virtually ruling out any talks of his party re-allying with Kumar’s JD(U). The two parties had a bitter fallout last year after Nitish switched sides to join ranks with the BJP, drawing to a close the Grand Alliance’s 20-month-old government.
While Yadav’s rejection of any patch-up with the JD(U) is understandable, the leader made no two bones in communicating a terse warning to the Congress as well. Calling out the Congress party over its remarks that Kumar’s return to the Grand Alliance could be considered if he snaps ties with the BJP and its assurance that the grand old party will grant special status tag to Bihar if it comes to power, Yadav advised the Congress not to jump the gun.
Reasserting that “the door is closed” for Nitish Kumar’s return to the Grand Alliance, Yadav said: “They (Congress) are not authorised to take a decision in this regard.”
Yadav said that Kumar’s made a courtesy call to ask about Lalu’s health who is unwell for last few months. He informed that Lalu had undergone a fistula surgery in Mumbai on Sunday and expressed surprise that Nitish Kumar got to know about his father’s heath after four months of hospitalisation.
“Nothing but a late courtesy call to enquire about his health as he underwent fistula operation on Sunday. Surprisingly Nitishji got to know about his ill health after four months of hospitalisation. I hope he realises he is the last politician to inquire following BJP/NDA Ministers visiting him,” he tweeted.
On Monday, Nitish had called Lalu who is in Mumbai due to poor health. But it was made known to media on Tuesday.
Lalu has been keeping unwell for last few months. But this was perhaps the first time when Nitish called Lalu to ask about his health. The two had, however, met during Tej Pratap’s wedding last month in Patna.
Nitish had dissolved the Grand Alliance government of the JD(U), RJD and Congress in Bihar last year and returned to NDA fold. But there is a buzz in the political fraternity in Bihar that the JD(U) leaders are unhappy with the BJP’s style of dealing with its allies and also over delay the seat-sharing talk with the NDA constituents of which LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan and RLSP’s Upendra Kushwaha are a part.