Sunday, October 23, 2016

Nitish Kumar opens backchannel talks with BJP for alliance in Bihar

Nitish Kumar, Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal (United) chief, has reportedly opened “channels” of communication with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to explore options to join hands together once again. The move comes amid Kumar’s reportedly growing rift with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

The Sunday Guardian reports “reliable sources” as saying that one of the senior JD(U) leaders, who is also a doctor, is meeting BJP leaders in Delhi to find a way to “reunion” of both the parties.

The said JD(U) leader’s father is a famous doctor in Patna, who had also contacted the General Elections from Patna Sahib constituency. The source told The Sunday Guardian that JD(U) has watered-down its aggressive stance against PM Narendra Modi.

Kumar’s equations with Yadav soured after the release of RJD leader and Siwan strongman Shahabuddin from jail recently. Soon after coming out of jail, the convicted criminal-turned-politician had attacked Kumar, saying the Bihar CM was the “Chief Minister of circumstances.” Lalu had backed Shahabuddin and refused to take a stand against the former’s statement.

To defeat the BJP in Bihar Assembly elections last year, Kumar had formed a ‘mahagathbandhan’ with RJD and Congress.

The BJP has also warmed up to Kumar and JD(U). This was reflected when Kumar, along with JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and Harivansh were included in the 149-member committee formed to celebrate the birth centenary of Jan Sangh founder Deendayal Upadhyay.

Nitish agreed to become a part of the committee even as he has talked about making India free of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Upadhyay was RSS pracharak.

The combined strength of BJP and JD(U) MLAs in Bihar is 123, which is one more than the required majority.

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