Monday, 30th October 2017

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Opposition and Nitish Kumar exchange feelers

Bihar Opposition appeal to Nitish Kumar to join the battle against the BJP

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 4.06.19, 4:03 AM
  • Updated 4.06.19, 4:03 AM
  • a min read
Opposition alliance member Jitan Ram Manjhi with Nitish Kumar at the iftar in Patna on Monday. (PTI)

Bihar politics appeared to turn fluid on Monday with a senior RJD leader appealing to Nitish Kumar to join the battle against the BJP, and the chief minister later attending an iftar hosted by HAMS chief and Opposition alliance member Jitan Ram Manjhi.

“All political parties need to unite to counter the BJP. Nitish too should be back in our grand alliance,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a former UPA minister, said.

Asked about RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav’s opposition to Nitish’s return, Singh said: “He (Tejashwi) has not written on stamp paper that Nitish should not join us.”

Rajya Sabha member and RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha echoed Singh.

Hours later, JDU president Nitish arrived at Manjhi’s home for the iftar. He missed Lalu Prasad’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi by a whisker — she had left a minute earlier.

Rabri had come with eldest son Tej Pratap; younger son Tejashwi is in Delhi.

Nitish and Manjhi, former JDU colleagues who had fallen out, were a picture of bonhomie as senior Congress leaders including state unit chief Madan Mohan Jha looked on.

Manjhi had attended a JDU iftar on Sunday, springing a surprise, and invited Nitish to Monday’s gathering.

Nitish’s visit to Manjhi’s iftar comes days after he rejected the BJP’s paltry offer of just one Union ministry berth and then hit back by expanding his ministry and offering just one berth to the ally, which it turned down.

The JDU and the BJP avoided each other’s iftars on Sunday, although this was attributed to a clash of timings.

Before coming to Manjhi’s iftar, Nitish attended one hosted by NDA ally and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP. There, Nitish and BJP deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi avoided each other till Paswan got them to pose together for a picture. But they hardly exchanged any words.

The BJP had till late evening not commented on the day’s developments.

The JDU, RJD and the Congress had allied to defeat the NDA in the 2015 Assembly polls but Nitish had rejoined the NDA two years later.

Bihar elects a new government next year.