‘JD(U) wanted Cong to play refree’s role but it sided with RJD’

JD(U) wanted Congress to play refree’s role in its tussle with RJD over corruption but the latter “sided” with Lalu Prasad and this miffed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar leading to the breaking of Grand Alliance, sources said on Thursday.

While the episode brought down the alliance experiment within two years, Congress-led Opposition may also have to face the prospects of JD(U) voting against its Vice Presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi following its support to NDA at the Centre. JD(U) had taken part in the meeting that chose Gandhi as the Vice Presidential candidate.


JD(U) was keen that Gandhi was chosen as joint Presidential candidate but after NDA chose Ram Nath Kovind, Nitish offered support. JD(U) had then alleged that Congress delayed the decision on Presidential candidate to choose a Congress person and this had forced them to take a stand on Kovind.

However, one of the party spokespersons had then refused to endorse the view that JD(U) would vote for Gandhi, saying it is for Kumar to announce the decision though senior leader Sharad Yadav attended the meeting.

The scenario has now changed with JD(U) deciding to support NDA at the Centre and they may vote for NDA candidate M Venkaiah Naidu, sources said. However, they also pointed out that JD(U) had voted in favour of Pranab Mukherjee in Presidential candidate when they were in NDA and the possibility of voting for Gandhi cannot be fully ruled out.

Sources said JD(U) and Kumar expected that Congress would remain neutral in the issue between JD(U) and RJD over the demand for resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav after CBI filed a case against him in a corruption case.

They took sides with RJD. That was not expected. Rahul Gandhi was not with Nitish Kumar as media projects. Kumar wanted Congress to intervene but as a referee. During the meeting with Rahul Gandhi, the JD(U) chief did not get any positive response,” a senior party leader said.

Kumar had also given “vague hints” about his plans two days ago when he told a close aide that “there is no point in working like this”. In 2014 when he resigned following poor results in Lok Sabha polls, he remembered Kumar saying that there is no point in continuing after “this infamy”.

He does not say much. It is difficult to decipher but it seems resignation was in his mind,” he said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on July 28, 2017)


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