JD(U) turns down RJD-Cong offer to Nitish

JD(U) turns down RJD-Cong offer to Nitish

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

The Janata Dal (United) on Monday outrightly rejected the offer made by the RJD to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, to return to the Mahagathbandhan. The ruling party in Bihar said the RJD had no future, as it had become irrelevant, while Nitish continued to be “a strong force to reckon with.”

The ‘comeback’ offer was made to Nitish by top RJD leaders Shivanand Tiwary and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, both national vice-presidents of the party, soon after Nitish decided not to be part of the Narendra Modi Government. The RJD leaders, in the past month, changed tack and showered praises on Nitish for his “secular credentials” and “Socialist background.”

“The RJD and Nitish are on the same page on the issue of Uniform Civil Code, Article 370 and Triple Talaq Bill. When the time will come and the matter be taken up in the Parliament, the RJD will strongly support Nitish on this issue,” said former RJD MP Shivanand Tiwary.

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh went a step further and said Nitish should rejoin Mahagatbandhan. “It’s time for Nitish to rejoin Grand Alliance, unite all those who are inimical to the BJP and defeat the communal and fascist forces in the country,” said Singh, who also added that his “comeback offer” to Nitish had the backing of former chief minister Rabri Devi.

The Congress, which has always been soft towards Nitish, too echoed similar sentiments. However, on Monday, Nitish’s key aide Shrawan Kumar, who is also Bihar’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister, spurned such an offer.

“The RJD’s time is up. The party has become irrelevant and it will perform miserably in 2020 Assembly elections too. On the other hand, Nitish is the only hope for Bihar. The country has seen how the Centre, in the Union Budget on July 5, has announced drinking water scheme for all, a similar project earlier launched by Nitish (Har ghar jal yojna) soon after he became Chief Minister in 2015,” said his aide.   

The JD(U)'s assertion could be setback for the RJD, which had recently advocated that Nitish could become the rallying point for all other Opposition parties during the next Lok Sabha polls, if he severs ties with the BJP and steps up as a potential challenger to Modi.