Bihar: Grand Alliance on shaky ground as parties await Nitish Kumar’s decision

New Delhi: The fate of the first successful alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hangs in the balance with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar- led Janata Dal (United) or JDU, Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress party unable to resolve their political differences.

Senior leaders of the JDU believe that there could be no compromise on the issue of corruption. Kumar along with other members of the alliance will take a final call on corruption allegations against Lalu Prasad and his family members after the Presidential elections on Monday. Kumar is expected to be in Delhi on 22-23 July to take part in JDU’s national executive meeting.

“JDU and the brand of politics of Nitish Kumar are very clear while handling the issue of corruption and law and order. We will not compromise on corruption. Nitish Kumar was responsible for building Brand Bihar and we cannot allow it to be destroyed,” said a senior leader of JDU.

Although JDU members of legislative assembly (MLAs) met in Patna on Sunday to finalize their strategy for the presidential polls, this was the second meeting of MLAs by Nitish Kumar in less than 10 days.

Members of the JDU said that the party was disappointed with the stand taken by the Congress party for backing RJD and not supporting JDU on the corruption issue. Senior leaders of JDU indicated that there can be a meeting between Kumar and Congress leaders in the coming days.

“Congress has openly backed RJD, so it has made its stand clear. We are also certain that JDU won’t compromise. The people of Bihar have a lot of expectation from the alliance, but JDU is prepared to take some hard decisions and decide its next course of action,” the JDU leader added.

In a related development, JDU not only missed the all-party meeting called by the Union government on Sunday but also skipped an opposition meeting with their presidential candidate Meira Kumar and vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

“Our party leaders were busy and hence could not attend the all-party meeting, our attendance will be there for the all-party meeting called by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Sunday. We skipped the opposition meeting naturally because we are supporting Ram Nath Kovind and have not shared stage even with him. As far as JDU MLAs’ meeting was concerned, all political parties held a meeting today to work out details of presidential polling and hence we were not any different,” said K.C. Tyagi, senior JDU leader and its official spokesperson.

Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar said on Sunday that it does not favour snap polls in the state. BJP has extended its support to Nitish Kumar’s stand that deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav of the RJD must come clean on corruption charges against him, PTI said.

“We are not in favour of mid-term polls in Bihar. Such a situation should not arise in the state,” senior Bihar BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters in Patna. “BJP does not believe in breaking the alliance government, but wants it to complete its term. Party’s parliamentary board will decide the issue depending on the political situation,” Sushil Modi said, adding that his party will not give inside or outside support to JDU if it ends ties with RJD.

Political analysts feel that the alliance will eventually split over the corruption issue.

“We know this from the beginning that this cannot be a stable alliance, both allies have their own political strengths and make their individual claims. One claims of being a brand of good governance, other boasts about its electoral strength. Each one of them need this alliance as much as the other but it is the RJD which is more desperate to remain in power and not Nitish Kumar. He will take his time but eventually this alliance will end sooner than later,” said C.P. Singh, a political science professor at Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University.

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