As the ties between the BJP and its ally JD(U) remain under scanner, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s absence at the NITI Aayog meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today has left the political circles abuzz.
This is the fourth time Kumar has stayed away from a Central meeting since July 17 amid strained relations with the BJP. On Sunday, one of the senior-most leaders of Kumar’s party – RCP Singh – quit the JD(U) amid his fallout with Kumar over accepting a Cabinet berth at the Centre.
Earlier, Kumar skipped a meeting of CMs called on July 17 over matters concerning the national flag, by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. On July 22, the Bihar CM skipped the farewell dinner hosted by PM Modi for outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind. On July 25, he also skipped the swearing-in of NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu as President.
Sources close to Kumar said that the CM, who recently recovered from COVID-19, wanted to avoid travel as precaution. However, Kumar was scheduled to attend a ‘National Handloom Day’ function in Patna on Sunday, along with Deputy CM Tarkiahore Prasad and Industries Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.
Ties between the BJP and JD(U) have come under scanner again following the latter’s top leadership asserting that the party is aiming at making a comeback as the largest political force in the state.
JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan is said to have told some media outlets a couple of days ago that his party was working towards reclaiming its status as the numero uno in the state and undoing the setback it received in the 2020 assembly polls, which he blamed on a “conspiracy”.
The allusion was to the ?brinkmanship? of Chirag Paswan, who then headed the Lok Janshakti Party and fielded candidates against all JD(U) nominees, many of them BJP rebels, and the chief minister’s party saw its tally crash to 43 from 71 five years earlier.
The JD(U) leader’s comments have unleashed a storm in a teacup in this highly politicised state with RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari chuckling “big trouble is brewing in the NDA. Its boat will sink in the floods that the rainy season brings.”