Nitish wanted to rejoin Grand Alliance: Lalu

Nitish wanted to rejoin Grand Alliance: Lalu

 RJD chief Lalu Prasad. PTI file photo

Six months after he dumped the Grand Alliance and joined the BJP-led NDA in 2017, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wanted to re-join the GA. This has been claimed by RJD chief Lalu Prasad in his soon-to-be-released book ‘From Gopalganj to Raisina.’

The book, which is an autobiographical account of Lalu, and has been co-authored by senior journalist Nalin Verma, has set the political temperature soaring. Lalu, who is cooling his heels in Ranchi jail in fodder scam case, has claimed in the book that “so desperate was Nitish to rejoin Grand Alliance” that he sent poll strategist Prashant Kishor to meet him five times.

However, Lalu rebuffed the overtures and outrightly rejected the fresh proposal on the ground that Nitish had lost his credibility and his another U-turn would not have been forgiven by the electorate who had voted for Mahagatbandhan during 2015 Bihar Assembly polls.

An embarrassed Prashant Kishor, already marginalised in the JD (U), on Friday admitted having met Lalu five times in 2018 but rejected the charge that Nitish wanted to re-join Grand Alliance. “The claim made by Lalu ji is BOGUS…” he tweeted.

The JD (U) too denied Lalu’s assertion and said PK was then not a JD (U) member who could have brokered such deal with Lalu.

However, three leaders of the Mahagatbandhan whom Deccan Herald spoke to on Friday, confirmed that as a close aide of Nitish, PK met Lalu five times and suggested that if the RJD chief gave it in writing that he would back Nitish again, the Bihar Chief Minister would sever ties with the NDA and rejoin Grand Alliance.

“This was in 2018 when the Bihar cops were about to arrest Union Minister Ashwani Choubey’s son for creating communal tension in the State. Nitish was regretting for having aligned with the BJP and was planning another U-turn,” confirmed a senior RJD ex-MP. A Congress legislator, aware of the development, had told Deccan Herald about this possibility way back in June 2018.

However, Tejashwi Yadav then put a spoke in the plan. He, in fact, publicly snubbed Nitish when the Bihar CM enquired about Lalu’s health.

“Henceforth, I won’t enquire about Lalu’s health,” a sheepish Nitish said last year during his press meet.

That closed the chapter.