Nitish Kumar meets Rahul Gandhi, attends PM Modi’s dinner

The Congress was tight-lipped over what transpired at the meeting between Rahul and Nitish, coming after days of tension in the alliance over his support to the NDA’s presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind, and amid strained ties between him and the RJD over corruption cases.

Written by Anand Mishra | New Delhi | Updated: July 23, 2017 8:26 am
Rahul gandhi, Nitish Kumar, Rahul Gandhi Nitish Kumar meeting, congress, Pranab Mukherjee, Nitish Kumar congress, India news, india news “The two leaders had a meeting. I was there, I can say only this much,” was the brief response of AICC general secretary in-charge for Bihar C P Joshi on the Rahul-Nitish talks. (Express Photo)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi, and then dropped by for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s farewell dinner for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee, keeping up the suspense over his overtures to the BJP. The Congress was tight-lipped over what transpired at the meeting between Rahul and Nitish, coming after days of tension in the alliance over his support to the NDA’s presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind, and amid strained ties between him and the RJD over corruption cases.

“The two leaders had a meeting. I was there, I can say only this much,” was the brief response of AICC general secretary in-charge for Bihar C P Joshi on the Rahul-Nitish talks. Sources, however, said that the turmoil in the Bihar Mahagathbandhan was discussed at length during the 40-minute-long meeting, including the corruption charges against RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s family, with Rahul impressing upon Nitish the need to save the alliance. The two also discussed the issue of larger Opposition unity.

“The current political situation and Opposition unity were the centre of discussion. After all when two senior leaders are meeting at a time when there are problems in the alliance, these will be discussed,” a source said.

After his meeting with Rahul, Nitish drove to the residence of Kovind, the President-elect, at 10, Akbar Road, and then to the house of senior party leader Sharad Yadav. The two JD(U) leaders were closeted together for an hour.

In the evening, Nitish attended Modi’s farewell dinner for Mukherjee, with the JD(U) citing their “special relationship”. Naveen Patnaik, whose BJD also supported Kovind, was among the handful of other CMs present at the dinner. The other invitees included Kovind, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, the NDA’s vice-presidential candidate M Venkaiah Naidu, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, BJP chief Amit Shah, party veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, and Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ram Vilas Paswan.

Nitish will also attend Kovind’s oath-taking ceremony on Tuesday. JD(U) leader K C Tyagi stressed that too much should not be read into Nitish attending the dinner, pointing out that Nitish had backed Mukherjee for president in 2012 despite being in the NDA at the time and that he shared a “special relationship” with the outgoing President. As such it is “natural for Kumar to attend a dinner hosted in honour of the outgoing President”, Tyagi said. It was also “natural” for Nitish to attend Kovind’s oath-taking as Nitish had backed his candidature, Tyagi said.

Breaking away from the Opposition ranks to back Kovind, Nitish had argued he was doing so as Kovind had been Bihar governor and had never created hurdles for his government in the state. Rahul had been abroad when Nitish had openly expressed his displeasure with Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks doubting his intentions in backing Kovind. Later, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul had personally talked to Nitish.

On its part, the JD(U) supported the Opposition’s nominee for vice-president, Gopalkrishna Gandhi. At that time it was decided that when Nitish comes to the national capital to attend his party’s National Executive on July 23, he would meet Rahul. While the JD(U) National Executive was later put off to August 19, Nitish kept the appointment with Rahul.

While the Congress would have hoped that Rahul and Nitish’s meeting on Saturday would send out the message that all was well in the Grand Alliance, the tension at the ground level between the JD(U) and RJD is keeping the pot boiling. JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok said on Friday that his party’s patience was being tested and asked why the person who has to answer is keeping mum.

With the RJD not agreeable to the resignation of Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who is facing corruption charges, and sections in the Congress backing Lalu, a section in the JD(U) feels that it is not time, yet, for them to burn any of their bridges.

The party, however, believes that the developments in the past 15 days, culminating in the Nitish-Rahul meeting on Saturday, indicate that the scales may be shifting in the Congress in its ties with Lalu. A larger chunk in the Congress is now more favourable towards Nitish, a JD(U) leader said.

In Patna, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said Nitish was “wasting time” meeting Rahul, adding that the Congress vice-president had failed to make his own party Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in Himachal Pradesh resign after he was chargesheeted by the CBI.

 

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  1. Surya Prakash Sharma
    Jul 23, 2017 at 11:24 am
    THE signs ae clear that RaOWL is destined to be defeated in AMETHI in 2019 IF THAT HAPPENS THE KHANgress will be buried before it actually dies.
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    Reply
    1. J
      Jay
      Jul 24, 2017 at 6:11 am
      Phati Chaddi Gang Paid trolls can write anything but the end of Communal Thugs is imminent.
      (0)(0)
      Reply
    2. Surya Prakash Sharma
      Jul 23, 2017 at 11:23 am
      THE signs ae clear that RaOWL is destined to be defeated in AMETHI in 2019 IF THAT HAPPENS THE KHANgress will be buried before it actually dies.
      (0)(0)
      Reply
      1. N
        Narang Manish
        Jul 23, 2017 at 8:00 am
        GOOD DECISION. We should do away with all the DYNASTIES. In the case of stinking dynasties what we get is ONLY THRASH - NEHRU DYNASTY, KARUNATHI DYNASTY, DEVA GOWDA DYASTY, MULAYAM DYNASTY, CHANDRA BABU DYNASTY ARE ALL SAME STINKING DYNATIES PRODUCING ONLY STINKING SH PEOPLE FINALLY.
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        1. I
          Insaan
          Jul 23, 2017 at 8:18 am
          हाँ, सबको अपनी अपनी गद्दी की लगी है और न जाने तुम किस की गोद में बैठे देश के प्रति गद्दारी कर रहे हो| मोदी जी के नेतृत्व में बीजेपी राष्ट्रीय राजनैतिक दल है जो भारत और भारतवासियों के लिए कार्यरत है नहीं तो पिछले सत्तर वर्षों में तुम्हारे आकाओं ने देश को दीमक का टीला बना छोड़ा है| तुम कभी फुर्सत में अपने को भली भांति देखो ो और बताओ कि गरीबी और से घिरे तुम्हारा क्या अस्तित्व है?
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        2. N
          Nitin
          Jul 23, 2017 at 7:56 am
          BJP ki Ghod Main Baikar Nitish Aapni Gaddi Nahin Bacha Sakta. Large number of JD(U) MLAs from Minorities and Yadavs will break rank with Nitish Kumar if he become Lap-dog of Modi because BJP and RSS top leaderships are the masterminds behind Mob Lynchings, Dalit Floggings, atmosphere of hate and anarchy in the country ans Minorities, Dalits, Yadavs, SC/ST all are alarmed by BJP Murderous and divisive approach for run up to 2019 Elections.
          (0)(0)
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          1. I
            Insaan
            Jul 23, 2017 at 8:20 am
            हाँ, सबको अपनी अपनी गद्दी की लगी है और न जाने तुम किस की गोद में बैठे देश के प्रति गद्दारी कर रहे हो| मोदी जी के नेतृत्व में बीजेपी राष्ट्रीय राजनैतिक दल है जो भारत और भारतवासियों के लिए कार्यरत है नहीं तो पिछले सत्तर वर्षों में तुम्हारे आकाओं ने देश को दीमक का टीला बना छोड़ा है| तुम कभी फुर्सत में अपने को भली भांति देखो ो और बताओ कि गरीबी और से घिरे तुम्हारा क्या अस्तित्व है?
            (0)(0)
            Reply
            1. B
              Babba
              Jul 23, 2017 at 8:33 am
              Copy and paste Sanghi Paid Chaddi Troll.
              (0)(0)
          2. Ravishanker Verma
            Jul 23, 2017 at 6:48 am
            BJP leaders of Bihar have failed to understand CM Nitish Kumar. Whether its Sushi Modi, Our PM or other RSS functionaries, everybody has failed to judge this CM properly. Very shrewd and very intelligent this CM has kept BJP leaders guessing and so far managed to hold his chair. A party having little grassroot level support (Read Caste based support in Bihar) has ruled for such a long period in this state mainly due to him and Sharad Yadav who must be applauded for JD(U)' s present rule there. Though RJD and JD ( U ) alliance was quite difficult, Sharad Yadav made this possible as he has big soft corner for his own castemen, Yadavs, who were eagerly waiting to rule Bihar by any means. Here Sharad Yadav's plan seemed to work well but he too failed to judge properly the mind of RJD supremo Lalu Yadav .Nitish Kumar should understand that Laluji has supported and installed him as Bihar CM only for a short rule in Bihar and not for a perpetual one. His game is over now. ....
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