Sources in the RJD and JD(U) said that the relationship between the two alliance partners had hit an all-time low and the RJD was on the backfoot because of tax notices and raids on properties owned by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who called the JD(U) decision to support Kovind and not the combined Opposition candidate a “historic blunder”, took a swipe at the Chief Minister, wondering how Nitish Kumar could claim to be working for a “Sangh-mukt” (RSS-free) country by backing an “RSS man”.
Sharad Pawar is learnt to have told Opposition leaders that he was in talks with the Centre on the issue of farmers’ stir in Maharashtra, and urged them to postpone the meeting by a day. Sensing danger, Congress leaders rushed to Pawar’s residence, sources said.
After the Opposition declared the name of their presidential election nominee as Meira Kumar, Yadav said, “Nitishji called me and said that it is his personal decision. I would appeal to him to rethink. Won’t break the alliance.”
Presidential polls: Commenting on Meira Kumar’s candidature, the chief minister said he had a lot of respect for her, but also justified his decision to support NDA’s presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind.
Presidential election: The NDA has 48% — including 40% for the BJP alone — while 14% comes from AIADMK (5%), BJD (3%), TRS (2%), JD(U) (a little under 2%) besides YRSCP and INLD (2% together). The Congress holds just under 15% and is likely to go up to about 34% with support from its allies.
“Our decision to support Kovind remains unchanged. It was a decision taken on merit after due application of mind and full consultation within the party… We will stick with his choice,” JD(U) spokesperson Pavan Kumar Varma said.
Lalu Yadav said, “Nitishji called me and said that it is his personal decision. I would appeal to him to rethink. Won’t break the alliance.”
The Patna High Court Chief Justice Rajendra Menon administered the oath to Tripathi at a function at Raj Bhawan. The post of Bihar Governor fell vacant on Monday last after Ram Nath Kovind resigned following the BJP-led NDA’s decision to select him as its candidate for the post of president.
The JD(U) cannot afford to vote against Kovind, a non-Jatav Dalit. JD(U) leaders believe that a number of Dalit communities in Bihar — most of them now bracketed as Mahadalits — identify with Kovind’s community.
Nitish has on many occasions in the past year warmed up to the ruling party at the Centre, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The praises have manifested into a sort of camaraderie that is seen regularly in the form of support to the PM and the BJP’s decision or stand on big issues.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reportedly told the JDU lawmakers to vote for Ram Nath Kovind in the upcoming president election on July17.
The JD(U) and BSP indicated they were not opposed to Kovind’s candidature, but stopped short of committing support to him.
The FIR lodged at Chanan police station on June 17 said six people “overpowered her and raped her one by one” when she went out of her house at 2 am on the intervening night of June 15 and 16.
One, Kovind, who took over in August 2015, is the first Governor in several years who has chosen not to confront the Chief Minister on any matter whatsoever.