Putting to rest all speculation that his call to RJD supremo Lalu Yadav to inquire about his health was a bid to return to the Grand Alliance, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said it was a gesture without any political motivation. However, Kumar lamented the cold shoulder given by Lalu’s two sons, Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav, saying, “It seems no appreciation is left for gestures arising out of human consideration.”
Expressing anguish at the response meted out to him by the two brothers, Nitish said from hereon he would follow newspaper updates on the RJD chief, who returned to Patna on Sunday after spending 21 days at a Mumbai hospital where he underwent a fistula surgery. “I called up four times to inquire about Lalu ji’s health. From now I will keep updates about him through the newspapers,” the JD(U) chief said at a Lok Samvad programme.
Kumar’s remarks come after Prasad’s younger son Tejashwi had dismissed the JD(U) chief’s gesture as a “late courtesy call” in a tweet on June 27 after the RJD supremo underwent a fistula surgery. Moreover, last week, during the RJD’s 22nd foundation day, Tejashwi said that even if Kumar offered him the “position of chief minister, he would not take it”. Lalu’s elder son Tej Pratap went a step further and said he intended to put up a “no entry” board at his mother’s house in Patna for Kumar, which the leader on Monday termed as “laughable”.
“I called up and spoke to Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha when Lalu ji was admitted at AIIMS in Delhi. I spoke to Bhola Yadav (MLA and Prasad’s close aide) on at least three occasions. When I spoke to him after the completion of surgery, Bhola Yadav handed over the phone to his recuperating leader,” he said.
The telephone call on June 26 by Kumar had triggered speculations that the JD(U) chief was growing uncomfortable in the alliance with BJP, which has increasingly been positioning itself as the ‘big brother’. Following the call, Tejashwi had alleged that the CM got to know about his father’s ill-health after four months of hospitalisation.
In a veiled dig at Lalu’s younger son, Kumar said these days people react to things without having adequate knowledge on that subject. “They take to social media at a drop of the hat and react in haste,” he said.