Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, on Friday stated that he was “waiting” for a conference of like-minded parties for the Lok Sabha elections next year once Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ was over, news agency PTI reported.
The JD(U) leader, who has the Congress as a junior ally in Bihar, said the yatra was a ‘niji’ (internal) activity of that party, but he hoped for a partnership in Lok Sabha of all seven constituents of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance).
The CM also stated that the JD(U) would not like to punish its sulking parliamentary board president Upendra Kushwaha, whose assertion that the party had become “weak” he dismissed.
Speaking with reporters, Bihar CM stated: “I am waiting for the yatra to be over and for a meeting of parties (opposed to the BJP) to be convened. There, we shall chalk out the strategy for the Lok Sabha polls which is, now, not far away.”
Kumar, a longtime NDA ally, abruptly left the party in August last year after claimed attempts to fracture it, prompting charges from the BJP that he was violating people’s mandate to further his own national goals.
When questioned about Kushwaha, the JD(U) leader said, “He knew that we had won only 43 seats in assembly polls. If things appeared so bleak to him, he should not have returned. He should remember that his return to the party fructified at my instance since many were not in favour of taking him back. Our membership drive has swollen the party ranks from less than 50 lakh to 75 lakh. Our tally fell in 2020 assembly polls since our then ally (BJP) did not support us at all.”
The JD(U) had blamed its defeat on a “plot” concocted by the BJP with the support of then-LJP head Chirag Paswan, who nominated candidates in all seats contested by the CM’s party and granted tickets to several saffron party dissidents.
“Kushwaha should remember that this party has given him a lot. He owes his past stints in assembly and Rajya Sabha, and current membership of the legislative council, to the JD(U),” Kumar was quoted by PTI in its report.
(With Inputs From PTI)