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Can accept Nitish as Grand Alliance leader if he quits NDA: RJD leader

RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tewary said though he would not talk about “feelers”, the reunion of RJD and JD(U) looked “viable”.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
Updated: September 8, 2019 7:25:04 am
nitish kumar, nitish kumar rjd, Shivanand Tewary, rjd grand alliance, bihar grand alliance, rjd jdu Tewary said he believes that the RJD must support Nitish if he decided to part ways with NDA again. (PTI)

RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tewary on Saturday said his party “would not have any problem” in accepting Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar as leader of the Grand Alliance if the Bihar CM decided to join them again. Tewary said though there had been no such feelers, one could see the JD(U) chief being under tremendous pressure over the party’s differences with BJP over instant triple talaq and scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

Tewary said though he would not talk about “feelers”, the reunion of RJD and JD(U) looked “viable”. “If Nitish would take any stand against communalism and if we do not support him, we will be finished,” said the senior RJD leader.

The senior RJD leader said though party leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav was firmly in control of the party after a brief absence from politics after the Lok Sabha elections, he believed that the RJD must support Nitish if he decided to part ways with NDA again. “If Nitish takes a stand (of quitting NDA) and we do not support him, in that case we would be branded as BJP agent,” he said. Asked if the RJD could accept Nitish on the same terms as it did before 2015 Assembly polls, Tewary said, “Why not?”

Explained

Win-win proposal for JD(U), RJD

Shivanand Tewary, a socialist leader and former Rajya Sabha MP, has been a senior leader to both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar and has followed their politics very closely. He believes Lalu and Nitish should come together since their ideological position is the same. Nitish’s growing discomfort with the BJP leaves space for Nitish and Lalu to join hands again, especially if the BJP tries to corner JD(U) over seat-sharing arrangements before 2020 Assembly polls. For the RJD, too, it will be a much-needed boost following its drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections.

It is the second time in the last two months that the senior RJD leader has made such remarks even though there are no direct feelers from the JD(U). “I have known Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad from their formative years. I worked with both of them and had parted ways with Lalu for Nitish in 1993 when Samata Party was formed… I firmly believe Nitish Kumar is a very image conscious leader. He is very conscious of his secular credentials,” said Tewary.

Asked about Bihar Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s aversion to Nitish Kumar and his party already declaring him as the CM nominee for 2020 Assembly polls, Tewary said, “I do not speak anything without basis. There could be some people on either side who would not like the idea but there are many common grounds between RJD and JD(U) and the cadres if both parties might be in agreement. If Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar come together again, they would again be formidable forces. We are on same page with Nitish on his secular credentials and stand on instant triple talaq and Jammu and Kashmir.”

However, JD(U) national spokesperson KC Tyagi said, “We are very much comfortable with NDA. On certain issues when we differed, we have aired our differences. As a socialist unit, we have not deviated from our ideology and commitment towards zero tolerance against crime, corruption and communalism. RJD’s desperation stems from the fact that people have rejected caste and clan politics in last Lok Sabha elections.”

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