Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday said he had no information about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal (United States) breaking away from the opposition INDIA bloc.
Reacting first to the political uncertainty in Bihar, Mallikarjun Kharge, who lives in Karnataka's Kalaburagi, said, “I have no information about the JD-U quitting the INDIA bloc.” What they have in mind is unclear. I am traveling to Dehradun tomorrow and then to Delhi. I will get the full information and then inform you.”
Kharge told reporters that the goal of the grand alliance is to unite everyone. “I spoke to Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Sitaram Yechury. If we unite we will put up a good fight and the INDIA bloc will be a success. Those interested in saving democracy will not change their minds and will stay with us,” the Congress chief said. Follow live updates on Bihar crisis
Kharge's reaction comes amid strong indications that Nitish Kumar was planning to quit the ruling 'Mahagathbandhan' and return to the BJP-led NDA, his old ally.
Kharge called Nitish Kumar but he is busy: Jairam Ramesh
Meanwhile, senior Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said at a press conference that Kharge tried to talk to Nitish Kumar but was unable to establish a connection.
“…I can officially say that Kharge tried to talk to Nitish Kumar not once but multiple times. However, the CM of Bihar is busy…,” Ramesh said.
Ramesh said he is confident that Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar will continue to be part of the alliance as co-architects of the INDIA bloc.
“We may have problems at the state level but this alliance (INDIA) has been put together. One of the architects of this alliance is the Chief Minister of Bihar. One of the co-architects of this alliance is the Chief Minister of West Bengal.” So you know it is a national alliance. This is not an alliance where local concerns take precedence over national concerns. National concerns will take precedence. Our national goal will prevail,” the congressman said.
Meeting of leaders of JD(U), RJD and BJP
In Patna, top JD(U) leaders rushed to Nitish Kumar's residence for a meeting on Saturday. Leaders like former national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, 'Lalan', minister and national general secretary Sanjay Kumar Jha and state legislative council chairman Devesh Chandra Thakur reached the official 1, Anney Marg around the same time as a meeting of legislators was taking place Residence of the CM of the RJD, the current ally of the JD(U), was underway.
The meeting of RJD lawmakers was held at party president Lalu Prasad's residence.
A meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers and parliamentarians in the state is also scheduled at the party office later in the day, although leaders have so far maintained that it was called to discuss the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Nitish Kumar has so far maintained a deafening silence on the political unrest. There are strong rumors that he may resign and form a new government with the support of the BJP.
On Saturday, Nitish Kumar visited Buxar district bordering Uttar Pradesh to attend an event where senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey was also present.
Notably, the project was undertaken by the state tourism department, a portfolio of Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who skipped the function.
No other RJD leaders were present on the occasion. Tejashwi Yadav did not attend the high tea ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Patna on the occasion of Republic Day on Friday.
(With contributions from agencies)
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