RJD pitches in, promises to support Nitish if he breaks ties with BJP
Opposition RJD on Monday said it was ready to embrace Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his JD(U) if he broke ranks with the BJP, the assurance coming amid a brewing political storm in Bihar.
RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary said that convening meetings of legislators by both parties on Tuesday were a clear indication that the situation was extraordinary.
"Personally, I am not aware of the goings on. But we cannot ignore the fact that both parties, which together had sufficient numbers to muster a majority, have convened such meetings when an assembly session is not round the corner," Tiwary told reporters in Patna, according to PTI.
"If Nitish chooses to dump NDA, what choice do we have except to embrace him (gale lagaenge). RJD is committed to fighting the BJP. If the chief minister decides to join this fight, we will have to take him along," said Tiwary.
According to sources, the alliance had reached breaking point.
Nitish Kumar has convened a meeting of JD(U) MLAs and MPs on Tuesday to discuss the scenario that has emerged following the exit of former national president RCP Singh, the JD(U) Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan, said on Monday.
The Congress has also convened a meeting of its legislature party in Bihar on Monday and will "welcome Chief Minister Nitish Kumar into the Opposition camp if he chose to snap ties with BJP, party sources said
While BJP leader and Deputy CM Tarkishore may meet Nitish Kumar soon, the Congess's Bihar in-charge hakt Charan Das is also likely to meet him.
Talking to reporters in Patna, Lalan did not react to speculations that Kumar was planning to walk out of the NDA but took exception to the claim that the BJP had decided who would be a minister from the JD(U).
“I read in the newspapers that RCP Singh has said that he was told by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that his name had been approved for ministership. He claims to have taken oath after informing the CM. But this only confirms what we have been accusing RCP of,” the JD(U) national president stated.
“Our charge is that RCP became a minister as per his own sweet will (apni marzi se). He has dropped the name of Shah. Does Shah belong to our party? Can the BJP decide which JD(U) leader will become a minister,” Lalan asked.
RCP Singh, who resigned from the party two days ago after being served a notice seeking explanation on allegations of corruption levelled by some JD(U) members, was inducted into the Union cabinet last year.
Kumar, who had facilitated the former IAS officer's meteoric rise in politics, did not take kindly to the vaulting ambitions of the protege and RCP received a snub from the party a few months ago when he was not considered for another term at the Rajya Sabha.
Accordingly, the Union steel minister resigned upon expiry of his Rajya Sabha term but avoided venting spleen against Kumar in particular and the party leadership in general until the corruption allegations served as the proverbial last straw on the camel's back.
“The chief minister has called the meeting of party lawmakers tomorrow to know their views about the situation that has emerged in the wake of the RCP episode,” said Lalan, who had on Sunday called Kumar the “maalik (lord)” of the JD(U) while insisting that the Bihar CM took all his decisions after due consultations with rank and file.
The Congress seems ready to welcome Chief Minister Nitish Kumar into the Opposition camp.
AICC secretary Shakil Ahmed Khan, who is also a party MLA, said the meeting will be held at the residence of Congress legislature party leader Ajeet Sharma and is likely to be attended by the party's in charge of Bihar, Bhakt Charan Das, who is scheduled to reach here in the evening.“We always believe that parties with similar ideologies (samaan vichardhara) should come together. If the CM's JD(U), which believes in socialist ideology, quits BJP we will definitely welcome it. But these are early days. We will discuss the unfolding situation at the meeting in the evening,” Khan told PTI-Bhasha over phone.