Nitish to back Kovind; won't attend Sonia meet on Thursday

Nitish to back Kovind; won't attend Sonia meet on Thursday

Nitish to back Kovind; won't attend Sonia meet on Thursday
It’s now official. Taking the wind out of Opposition’s sails, the Janata Dal (United) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday evening decided to back the NDA presidential candidate Ramnath Kovind who resigned as Bihar Governor on Tuesday.

“The decision was taken unanimously at the JD (U) meeting, attended by senior party legislators and parliamentarians, including Sharad Yadav, to back Kovind due to the latter’s impeccable record as Bihar Governor. Nitish, who shared a very cordial working relationship with Kovind, has already expressed his feelings to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and RJD chief Lalu Prasad,” said party secretary general KC Tyagi here on Wednesday.

Flanked by Nitish’s close aide Lallan Singh and RCP Singh, Tyagi added that in view of today’s political development, there was “no point of Nitish Kumar or any other JD (U) leader attending the Opposition meeting convened by Sonia in New Delhi on Thursday.”

The Congress president had convened a meeting of all the 17 Opposition parties to deliberate on the issue of selecting a joint candidate who could be pitted against Kovind.

Tyagi, however, reiterated that despite Nitish’s support to NDA nominee Kovind, there was no threat to the ruling coalition in Bihar in which the RJD and the Congress were two alliance partners of the JD (U). “The support to Kovind has nothing to do with the Grand Alliance in Bihar,” said Tyagi, adding that Nitish’s support to the NDA nominee was due to personal reasons, and it was limited only to presidential elections.
“We have seen Governors like Buta Singh, a Congressman, with whom Nitish never shared a cordial relationship. Kovind was, however, a non-controversial and affable person who performed his role as Bihar Governor in a dignified manner,” Tyagi added.

Nitish’s move, however, drew sharp flak from its alliance partner - the RJD. “Nitish has ditched the Grand Alliance. He has also thrown a spanner in the Opposition unity,” said Bhai Birendra, a close Lalu aide and RJD legislator from Maner.