Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to skip the Opposition meet on Tuesday in Delhi scheduled to decide on the nominee for vice president, NDTV reported. A meeting of the Janata Dal (United), including Bihar legislators and MPs, has been scheduled in Patna on the same day. This comes after much speculation that Kumar’s alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar might be in trouble.
The chief minister is reported to be unwell, but his decision to not attend the meeting on Tuesday is being seen by his political rivals as another friendly gesture towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kumar had similarly skipped the Opposition meeting in June to pick their presidential nominee. Later, he had announced his support for the National Democratic Alliance’s Ram Nath Kovind over Meira Kumar, who was the Opposition’s pick.
The meeting on Tuesday in Delhi will be chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and will be attended by 17 Opposition parties. The vice presidential polls will take place on August 5. Incumbent Hamid Ansari’s tenure ends on August 10.
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has called for a meeting of party legislators in Patna on Monday, The Hindu reported. Yadav is believed to have been holding meetings with senior party leaders and legal advisers at his Delhi residence for the last two days.
Demand for Tejashwi Yadav’s resignation
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday had filed corruption charges against Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi, and son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav. Kumar has been silent on the crisis, and has instructed all JD(U) spokespersons to refrain from commenting on the matter. At Tuesday’s meeting, the JD(U) members are expected to call on Tejashwi Yadav’s post, The Indian Express reported.
The JD(U) chief has also cancelled his weekly Lok Samvad programme on Monday, citing poor health. The official release of the party said Kumar was “down with fever”, PTI reported.
The Congress, the JD(U) and the RJD alliance is in power in Bihar. However, the rift between Kumar and Yadav had come to the fore when the former backed Kovind for the presidential election.