Nitish loses his cool at meeting with allies, says some from Mahagathbandhan ‘in touch with BJP’

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Patna: Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar lashed out at leaders of the state’s Mahagathbandhan alliance in the assembly building Monday, alleging that they were in “touch with the BJP”.

Bihar’s ruling Mahagathbandhan is a coalition of the JD(U), the RJD, the Congress and other parties.

RJD Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Sunil Kumar Singh told ThePrint that Nitish lost his cool while talking to him at a joint meeting of Mahagathbandhan leaders in the central hall of the assembly, soon after the start of the short monsoon session Monday.

Nitish, he said, had arrived to the assembly with RJD leader and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav.

“You get yourself photographed with (BJP leader and Union home minister) Amit Shah and make annd shand (baseless) statements here,” the CM told Singh.

Singh said he told Nitish that “he had done nothing wrong”, but the CM alleged that he had not been responding to his phone calls and that he was in contact with the BJP.

Later, Singh told ThePrint that he hadn’t received any calls from Nitish. He added that he told Nitish: “I am like a family member of Laluji (RJD chief Lalu Prasad) and will not leave them till my last breath.”

Hearing the altercation between the two leaders, Tejashwi rushed to Singh’s side and asked him to sit down. “I will look into the matter,” he said, according to Singh.

The RJD MLC, who is also chairman of Bihar State Co-operative Marketing Union (BISCOMAUN), asserted the chief minister was making false charges against him.

“A photograph which is on my social media account with Amit Shah is of the all-India meeting of cooperative bodies held earlier this month. Shah is also minister of cooperation, and I attended the meeting as chairman of BISCOMAUN and felicitated him. It does not amount to having connections with the BJP,” he explained.

Nitish, according to Singh, also targeted his own party MLA and deputy speaker Maheshwar Hazari and Congress MLA Ajit Sharma at the meeting. “He told them ‘I know you are in contact with the BJP for a ticket’,” said Singh.

When ThePrint contacted Hazari and Sharma for a comment on the allegations, they neither confirmed nor denied the charges made by Nitish.

Singh said that, at the meeting, Nitish further alleged that the BJP had come with Rs 200 crore to lure MLAs with and claimed he was aware of every legislator’s move.

The reported outburst of the Bihar CM, who is known to keep a cool head at meetings and during interactions with rivals and allies, comes amid claims by the BJP that a rebellion was afoot in the JD(U).

“CM Nitish Kumar, with his angry words, has only confirmed what the BJP and its allies are claiming. It is a sign of desperation,” a JD(U) MLA told ThePrint.


Also Read: After central govt rejects new site for Bihar’s 2nd AIIMS, JD(U) & BJP in blame game over delay


Confidant of RJD first family

Sunil Kumar Singh is said to be close to Lalu and his family, so much so that Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi ties him a rakhi every year, and the RJD president’s last birthday was celebrated at Singh’s residence. Singh has also remained chairman of BISCOMAUN for one decade.

During last week’s spat between Bihar education minister Chandrashekhar and his additional chief secretary K.K. Pathak, Singh had spoken out against Nitish.

“Whenever Nitishji has to fix a minister, he sends officers like Pathak,” Singh remarked to the media Thursday, after which JD(U) leaders publicly criticised him.

Sources who attended Monday’s meeting told ThePrint that several RJD leaders complained to Nitish about “untamed bureaucracy” in Bihar. “Whenever I telephone an officer, he does not even acknowledge my greeting,” a senior RJD leader reportedly told Nitish, leaving him red-faced.

RJD sources told ThePrint that after Monday’s meeting of Mahagathbandhan leaders in the assembly, Lalu convened a separate meeting of RJD legislators in Patna.

Lalu, the sources said, asked the legislators not to make any statements against an ally. “Our main motive should be to defeat the BJP,” the RJD chief reportedly insisted.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)


Also Read: ‘Craving power’ or wish to serve? Why ex-IPS & IAS officers are making a beeline for Bihar politics


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