Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has sought an appointment with Governor Phagu Chauhan, sources said on Tuesday. This came after the chief minister chaired a meeting of JD(U) legislators and MPS at the residence of Kumar in Patna following the resignation of party leader RCP Singh on Saturday.
According to TV reports, the JD(U) will be meeting Governor at 1 pm today. Security outside the governor’s house was beefed up ahead of Kumar’s arrival who is likely to stake a claim for formation of Mahagathbandhan government.
Meanwhile, Congress and Left party leaders and MLAS also converged today at the residence of Rabri Devi in Patna for a meeting convened by the opposition RJD.
The BJP is also holding a meeting at Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishor Prasad’s residence and among those present there include party’s state unit president Sanjay Jaiswal.
A Bihar minister belonging to BJP who prefers to remain unnamed said, “why should I resign?”, amid the brewing political crisis in the State. “We are waiting for Nitish Kumar to make the first move, then we will take a step,” he added.
More than one of the prospective attendees of the JD(U) meeting denied that the party’s ties with the BJP have worsened to an extent to call for a realignment.
“Our party had held many such meetings of MPs and MLAs in the past. We have been told that the current meeting has been called to discuss organisational matters. Never heard about any major crisis in the NDA,” said Ram Nath Thakur, a Rajya Sabha member, low key but known to enjoy proximity to the chief minister by virtue of being the son of late Karpoori Thakur, the latter’s political mentor.
Another confidant of Kumar, Leshi Singh, who is an MLA and a minister in his cabinet, said, “I was away for the last four or five days but I have an idea of how things have been. There does not seem to be any major crisis facing the NDA government. It goes without saying, though, that the party will abide by any decision taken by the chief minister”.
Chetan Anand, a young RJD MLA who is serving his first term, said, “Rumours of political realignment have been afloat for a couple of years. Let us not make any rash assumptions. Once the party leadership takes any decision, it will be definitely made known to all.”
JD(U)- BJP rift
On Monday, Congress, RJD, the Left extended support to CM Nitish Kumar if he breaks his alliance with BJP. RJD vice president Shivanand Tiwari, while speaking to ANI, said, “It goes without saying that the BJP will urge Nitish Kumar to take the floor test if he leaves the party. What will we do in the circumstance? Are we going to let the government fail? After he separates from the BJP, we must stand by him. We are forced to do it politically and cannot choose otherwise. We must back him if he takes a position against the BJP.”
The saffron party and JD(U) have been at loggerheads on numerous issues including the liquor ban, the law and order situation, the latest military recruitment scheme- Agnipath.
The latest concern was JD(U)’s allegations against its own leader RCP Singh, who was a part of the Union Cabinet till July 6. Amid rumours of Singh’s closeness to the ruling party at the Centre, JD(U) has levelled corruption allegations against him and has signaled that BJP was planning to use him like Chirag Paswan to plan its downfall.
The two parties joined hands after 2020 Bihar Assembly election where NDA emerged victorious in 125 seats as against the 110 seats won by the Mahagatbandhan.
BJP, RJD, JD(U) and Congress bagged 74, 75, 43, and 19 seats respectively. Despite only winning one seat, LJP is thought to have negatively impacted JDU’s chances in 32 seats. It was believed that JDU’s influence in the coalition weakened as BJP for the first time in a Bihar Assembly election gained more seats than JDU.