Rahul sends feelers to Nitish to rejoin the Grand Alliance

The fresh offer comes amid reports that the JD-U is annoyed with the BJP over the ‘treatment’ being meted out

Patna: The Congress party headed by Rahul Gandhi has extended fresh offers to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to join the opposition Grand Alliance (GA) which he headed for about two years before returning to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance. Kumar who heads the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) returned to the BJP camp in July last year after running the GA government for about two years.

“We will consider inducting Kumar into GA if he decides to leave the BJP,” Congress’ Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil told the media on Sunday evening. He said he didn’t know what compelled Kumar to join the “fascist” BJP, describing their togetherness as “mismatch”. He said he would discuss the issue with his allies in case the JD-U chief plans to quit the BJP and decides to join the GA.

The fresh offer comes amid reports that the JD-U is annoyed with the BJP over the “treatment” being meted out. Recently, the JD-U asked the BJP to project Kumar as the face of the NDA in Bihar and also demanded lion’s share of seats to contest on the ground that it has more seats in Bihar assembly than its ally.

The BJP, though, rejected JD-U demand and has refused to leave its sitting Lok Sabha seats for its ally. The NDA had won 31 seats out of state’s total 40 LS in Bihar in the last 2014 LS polls when Kumar’s JD-U was not a part of the NDA then. Of them, the BJP alone had won 22 seats while the JD-U which went it alone was able to win only two seats out of 38 it had contested.

The issue of seat-sharing has now led to bitterness between the two partners yet the JD-U has rejected the Congress’ offer for now. “Nitish Kumar is happy with where he is now. He is very much comfortable in the NDA,” JD-U’s national general secretary KC Tyagi told the media today. However, he thanked the Congress for extending the offer.

This is the second time in succession that the Congress has extended offer to Kumar in the past three months. Earlier in March, the Congress had asked Kumar to join the GA when Bihar burnt over a continuing spate of communal tension.

“The BJP has been constantly trying to disturb communal harmony in the state and it’s time for Kumar to take a hard decision to save Bihar,” was how Bihar Congress president Kaukab Qadari had told the media then, suggesting the chief minister to quit the “communal forces” and join the secular grouping.

However, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has strongly objected to any move to re-induct Kumar to the GA. “There is no question of Kumar joining the GA. He has repeatedly misused the people’s mandate. Everyone except Nitish Kumar is welcome to the GA,” RJD leader and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav has declared.

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