Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United) has invited opposition BJP leaders for Makar Sankranti lunch on Saturday. The invitation is the first since the two parties ended their alliance in June 2013. The invitation comes after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move. Modi responded by praising the liquor ban imposed in Bihar, where the local BJP unit had otherwise been attacking JD (U) for some stringent provisions in the prohibition law. The BJP will now support JD(U) government’s all-Bihar human chain for prohibition on January 21.
JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar called the invitation the beginning of positive politics. He added that it is not always necessary to extract political meaning out of such moves. The invitation comes after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief and JD (U) ally, Lalu Prasad, sat on the ground during Modi’s function here recently. Lalu and Nitish played down the arrangement saying that Modi’s security had decided it.
But RJD national vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had objected to the arrangement saying that the “people of Bihar were watching everything”.
BJP state president Nityanand Rai told The Indian Express that they were yet to receive the invitation. “Once we get it, we will sit together and decide what to do,’’ he said. A BJP leader called the invitation a good gesture and added it reflected Nitish’s smart politics to keep his ally guessing.
“Nitish wants to keep his senior alliance partner, RJD, on tenterhooks. He knows Lalu has to settle his two sons and cannot afford to snap ties with JD (U). Even though it was about getting an upper hand over Lalu, we are happy with open-ended politics of Nitish,’ he said.