NITISH KUMAR’S return to the NDA at the head a new government in Bihar with the BJP as partner has not just stunned the Opposition but some within his own party.
JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Thursday morning but maintained a studious silence on what transpired at the meeting. He also met two leaders of his own party — Rajya Sabha MPs Ali Anwar Ansari and M P Veerendra Kumar — who spoke out against Nitish Kumar’s decision to go with the BJP.
Yadav also spoke on phone with Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley but there was no word on what was discussed — there was speculation in some quarters that JD(U) may join the Union Council of Ministers. After their meeting at Yadav’s residence, Ansari said even Yadav was not aware of Kumar’s decision to walk out of the Grand Alliance and form a government with the BJP.
“Nitish Kumarji has said he quit the Grand Alliance because he listened to his voice of conscience. My conscience does not allow me to support the decision to form a government with support from the BJP,” Ansari told The Indian Express. He said not just the JD(U) or Opposition, but many in the country were hoping Nitish Kumar would provide an alternative leadership in the country.
“Though there were indications from sometime, I never believed that Nitishji will join hands with the BJP again. We were the ones who gave the slogan of ‘Sangh-mukt Bharat and Sharab-mukt Samaj’. The issue on which we had parted ways with BJP, fearing that they will get further strengthened under Modi, is what is happening today. So why join hands with the BJP now. I was not in agreement with Kumar’s decision to support NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind but then thought it could be an isolated incident because he was Bihar Governor. But this is too much. If I do not protest against it, I will not be able to show my face to the world… log thu-thu karenge (people will criticise),” Ansari said.
Veerendra Kumar too said he was shocked by Nitish Kumar’s decision and said the Kerala unit of the party — he is the state chief — will not follow the Bihar Chief Minister into the NDA fold. He appealed to all JD(U) MPs to denounce the move and quit the party. “As far as Kerala is concerned, we will never become part of the JD(U) represented by Nitish Kumar. Future course of action will be decided after the state council meeting,” he said.
Kapil Patil, JD(U) member of Maharashtra Legislative Council, also disagreed with Nitish Kumar’s decision and said it will be raised at the national executive committee meeting of the JD(U) on August 19.