Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will not attend the Opposition meeting on Tuesday, called to shortlist a candidate for the upcoming Vice-Presidential elections, reported NDTV on Monday. The meeting, which will be chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, will see members of 17 Opposition parties in attendance. Kumar, instead, is likely to attend a Janata Dal (United) conclave in Patna tomorrow called in the wake of the cracks within the ruling Grand Alliance.
Kumar had also opted out of attending the Opposition’s meeting last month to discuss the presidential candidate. Extending support to the NDA’s nominee and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind instead, he had defended his decision by reasoning that NDA had picked a leader from Bihar.
The idea of uniting opposition parties ahead of the 2019 General Elections was first pitched by Kumar and his ally, Lalu Prasad Yadav, to Sonia Gandhi. The opposition parties subsequently met to nominate Congress leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for the post of President.
The JD(U) meet tomorrow will be attended by all its legislators. Sources in the party told The Indian Express that they will pressurise Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to resign as Deputy Chief Minister, given the corruption charges filed against him by the CBI. Also read: JD(U) calls meet, pressure builds on Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to quit as Deputy CM. Click here.
A party leader told The Indian Express, “From what we have gathered so far, Nitish would expect Tejashwi to offer his resignation before being asked to do so. If Tejashwi resigns on his own, he may earn the Chief Minister’s respect and can take the high moral ground on corruption. This will also blunt the BJP’s attack on the JD(U) leadership and allow some breathing space for the Grand Alliance.”
Last Thursday, the central agency raided properties connected to Yadav as part of its investigation into a corruption case. Prasad called it BJP’s “political vendetta” against his family. Kumar, who still hasn’t publicly commented on the events, has reportedly not spoken to Yadav and is waiting for the latter to make the first move.