Cong asks Nitish to join Oppn front

Cong asks Nitish to join Oppn front

In a major turn of events that could have wide political ramifications, the Congress party on Tuesday extended an olive branch to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and asked him to join the Congress-led alliance.

The fresh overtures were made by the newly appointed Bihar Congress in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, a leader from Gujarat.

"Nitish Kumar's demand for special status to Bihar is a very valid one. After the JD (U) joined the NDA, the Narendra Modi government should have acceded to Nitish's oft-repeated demand. But the Modi regime will never fulfill its promise of either special status or special package to Bihar despite numerous assurances," said Gohil during his Bihar visit on Tuesday.

In the same vein, he urged Nitish to snap ties with the BJP with whom he was feeling uncomfortable in running his government.

"While campaigning in Karnataka, Nitish rightly said that he 'was opposed to the politics of confrontation and disliked the use of a language that debased political discourse'. We welcome his assertions. It's high time that Nitish has second thoughts on continuing with the NDA. In fact, we will welcome him if he joins the Congress-led alliance. The Congress will sympathetically consider his demand for a special status to Bihar," said Gohil.

The JD (U) welcomed the Congress' stand but added that the UPA did not fulfil the demand when it was in power for 10 years.

"It's a good sign that Congress supports us on the issue of special status. But it should have acceded our demand long back when it was in power," said party spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan Sinha here on Tuesday.

Nitish had dumped the RJD and the Congress in July 2017 to form a government with the BJP in the hope that the 'double engine' (NDA both at the Centre and state) would put Bihar in the fast track of development.

Nitish has been snubbed by Modi on several occasion in the past months. 

The Congress overtures to the JD (U) strongman assumes significance as Nitish has reportedly been feeling uncomfortable in the company of his new aggressive ally, which is quite different from the BJP of the Vajpayee-Advani era.

"It's too early to predict, but Bihar is once again heading for a major political upheaval," a senior Congress leader told DH here on Tuesday.