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Will Nitish Kumar Join NDA Again? Late Evening Meeting Between Bihar CM, Lalu-Tejashwi Fuels Speculation

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With the Lok Sabha elections approaching closer, speculations of a rift between Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and RJD leaders Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav have again taken centre stage. While Lau-Tejashwi met Kumar at his residence yesterday, a JD(U) minister claimed that the doors of NDA are still open. On the other hand, a meeting was held at BJP leader Vijay Kumar Sinha’s residence as well.

It’s being claimed that Nitish Kumar, who was upset after the RJD did not back him for the INDIA Bloc’s convenor post, is now not ready to cede space for the RJD to contest more seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The seat-sharing issue is the latest bone of contention between the JDU and the RJD. There is widespread speculation that the JD(U), having secured 16 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as part of the NDA alliance, may be unwilling to accept a reduced seat count in the upcoming elections. Meanwhile, the RJD, despite not winning any seats previously, is expected to assert its claim for a substantial share, emphasizing its larger numerical representation in the assembly.

RJD president Lalu Prasad, accompanied by his son Tejashwi Yadav, the Deputy CM, called on ally Nitish Kumar at his residence. After the meeting, Tejashwi Yadav said that there is no rift between the parties and both parties will contest a respectable number of seats.

“I feel sorry when you people ask questions that seem so divorced from ground reality. Why is there so much curiosity about when seat-sharing was likely to be final in Mahagathbandhan? Has the BJP-led NDA sorted it out in its own camp? Nobody cares about that,” said Yadav.

Yadav was also asked about Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s interview with a Hindi daily in which his response to a query on Kumar, who dumped the BJP less than two years ago, was being interpreted as an admission of doors not being shut on the JD(U) boss. Shah said that if a proposal comes, then the BJP will think about that. Now, Bihar’s Building and Construction Minister Ashok Chaudhary claimed Shah has never said that the doors of the NDA are closed for JD(U). “Amit Shah never said that NDA’s doors for the JD(U) are closed. He always said that if JD(U) sends a proposal on it, then he would consider it. We have not given any proposal to the BJP,” Chaudhary said.

Meanwhile, the JDU’s X handle has posted a video in which Tejashwi Yadav has almost disappered. In the 1.29 minutes long video that claims Bihar’s overall development under Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi was seen only once for a few seconds.

However, it is being said that Kumar wants the BJP to make a move first. In August 2022, Kumar, a former ally of the BJP, terminated the alliance, accusing the saffron party of attempting to divide the JD(U) and expressing determination to defeat the NDA in 2024 by uniting the entire opposition. He played a pivotal role in forming the INDIA bloc and hosted its inaugural meeting in Patna, where leaders opposed to the BJP came together, setting aside past differences.

Kumar recently got appointed as the JD(U) president succeeding his close aide Rajiv Ranjan Singh “Lalan,” who was rumored to have developed close ties with the RJD camp. Despite being the longest-serving Chief Minister of the state, Kumar had, a few months ago, criticized the Congress for losing focus on INDIA due to its preoccupation with assembly polls in select states.

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