Nitish dials Lalu in Mumbai enquires about his health

Nitish dials Lalu in Mumbai enquires about his health

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, file photo

In a dramatic turn of events, which could have wide political ramifications, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday made phone calls to an ailing Lalu Prasad in Mumbai and enquired about his health.

The RJD president, who has been convicted and jailed in fodder scam cases, is undergoing treatment at a prominent hospital in Mumbai after he was granted bail on health grounds by the Jharkhand High Court.

Nitish’s phone call to his friend-turned-foe assumes significance as this is for the first time that the JD (U) strongman has made a telephonic conversation with Lalu after nearly year of bitterness.

Ever since Nitish dumped Grand Alliance partners - RJD and Congress - in July 2017 and joined hands with the BJP-led NDA, the two regional chieftains have been at daggers drawn, with the war of words getting murkier day by day.

However, after a series of snubs from the BJP’s top leadership in the last 11 months, Nitish is believed to be feeling quite uncomfortable in the company of the BJP in a new avatar, which is apparently quite different from the BJP of Vajpayee-Advani era.

“It’s true that back-room channels have been opened for a fresh realignment of political forces in which at least two present allies of NDA in Bihar may switch over to the Grand Alliance. But it’s too early to predict when Nitish will make a ‘ghar wapsi’ (read: return to the Grand Alliance),” a senior leader from the Opposition camp told Deccan Herald on Tuesday.

Nitish’s soft approach towards Lalu was quite palpable during the latter’s son Tej Pratap’s wedding in last month. Sources in the RJD, on the condition of anonymity, said that Lalu was not averse to Nitish’s return to the Grand Alliance. “Nor is the Congress opposed to the idea of his comeback. The only hitch is Tejashwi Yadav, who is firm that Nitish has lost his credibility and therefore cannot be trusted anymore,” the source, refusing to be identified, said.