PATNA: For long, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has kept both his coalition partners guessing about his next move by constantly displaying rare warmth towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also backing his government’s decisions in public.
Now, it appears that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress have begun working on a strategy to “tame” the chief minister.
Analysts got a clear hint of this when the RJD chief drove to the Sadaquat Ashram, the state Congress headquarters in Patna, on Monday to release a book penned by nonagenarian Vishnudeo Prasad Yadav. This was the first visit of the RJD chief in the past 16 years.
Although the purpose of the visit was the book release, the fact that he was invited to the state Congress headquarters for this task assumes much significance.
“The selection of the venue is quite significant. This could have taken place at a neutral place, probably in hotels but why the Congress office? This itself says much,” remarked a political expert.
What was further significant, the RJD used the Congress platform to launch massive attacks on the Narendra Modi government for its “pro-industrialists” policies, to declare a mammoth rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan against demonetisation and to reveal his closeness with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, indicating an emerging realignment in the state.
Strangely, the RJD, of late, was being treated as a “pariah” by the Congress despite every bid by Mr Prasad to keep Gandhi family in good humour.
It is worth mentioning that it was the Congress which had unilaterally declared JD-U leader Mr Kumar as the chief ministerial candidate of the Grand Alliance even without consulting the RJD, forcing the latter to ultimately support his candidature.
Prior to Congress move, the RJD was in favour of deciding the CM candidate after the results were out. Again, it was Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who had trashed the “ordinance” brought by his own government to save convicted lawmakers, describing it as “complete non-sense”. His opposition led to the immediate disqualification of the RJD chief as Member of Parliament.
Prasad’s visit to the Congress office assumes significance in the backdrop of the growing bon homie between the Bihar chief minister and the Prime Minister.
It touched a crescendo when the JD-U finally extended an invite to the BJP for feast on maker Sankranti that was later cancelled owing to the boat tragedy.
Courtesy: The Statesman