Nitish should lead Oppn on issue of Article 370: RJD

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

In a significant development, which may have wide political repercussions, the RJD on Wednesday suggested that JD (U) national president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should lead the Opposition in opposing scrapping of Article 370.

“There is a complete vacuum in the Opposition camp where no significant leader could dare oppose the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine. In a democracy, people have a right to oppose or protest. You cannot subvert democracy by detaining Opposition leaders or imposing restrictions, thereby curbing the democratic rights of citizens.

"It’s high time Nitish took the lead in uniting Opposition parties. I am sure all those leaders, who are inimical to the BJP, will back Nitish on this issue,” said RJD national vice-president and former Rajya Sabha member Shivanand Tiwary.

The JD (U) had walked out in Parliament during voting on Article 370.

Soft approach

The RJD has been adopting a soft stand towards Nitish ever since it was routed in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Tiwary, in particular, has a soft corner for Nitish as he has been one of the founding members of the Samata Party (the earlier avatar of JD-U) floated by Nitish under the leadership of George Fernandes in 1994.

“I have always maintained that Nitish is PM-material. If he deserts the BJP-led NDA and joins the Opposition camp, he could be projected as the combined Opposition leader who could take Modi head-on during 2024 parliamentary polls,” Tiwary told DH.

The RJD had earlier urged Nitish to rejoin Mahagathbandhan and contest the 2020 Assembly elections in Bihar with the same combination of JD (U), RJD and Congress, as was done during the 2015 Assembly polls. The Mahagathbandhan had then decisively defeated the BJP.

The JD (U) has, however, showed no sign of enthusiasm on the offer being made by the RJD. “Tiwary’s offer is too little, too late. The offer should have been made when we were together in the Mahagathbandhan,” averred Nitish’s Cabinet colleague Ashok Choudhary.

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