Nitish Kumar quit INDIA bloc due to caste poll in Bihar, claims Rahul Gandhi

Two days after Nitish Kumar quit the RJD in Bihar and returned to the NDA, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took aim at the Bihar chief minister, saying he left the alliance under pressure. Gandhi said Nitish Kumar, the architect of the INDIA bloc, quit the alliance due to the Bihar caste polls.

“Understand why Nitish Ji got stuck. I told him directly that you need to do a caste census in Bihar. And we (Congress) along with RJD insisted that Nitish ji conduct the poll. But the BJP got scared. They are against this plan. Nitish ji got stuck and BJP gave him the back door to run away!” Gandhi said at a rally in Purnia.

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The Congress leader said, “It is the responsibility of our alliance (INDIA bloc) to provide social justice to all of you and we don't need Nitish Ji for that.”

Nitish Kumar had contested the 2020 general elections with the BJP. However, in August 2022, he broke ties with the saffron party to form the government with Lalu Yadav's RJD. It was Nitish who initiated the talks for the grand alliance to contest against the BJP in 2024. He also hosted the first meeting of the INDIA bloc in Patna in June last year.

However, Nitish was reportedly fed up with the Congress's delay in seat-sharing and the lack of announcement of the bloc's leader. India Today reported that Nitish decided to quit the alliance after the Congress said he would take a call as convenor after speaking to Mamata Banerjee, who had already suggested Mallikarjun Kharge's name for the post.

Rahul Gandhi, however, claimed that Nitish Kumar decided to take a U-turn after giving in to “a little pressure”. He once again joked about Nitish switching sides and said, “The chief minister went to take oath at Raj Bhavan and after taking oath, he left. In the car he realized that he had forgotten his scarf. He asks the driver to come back. He is leaving.” back to Raj Bhavan. The governor says, “Why are you back so soon!”

“A little pressure and he makes a U-turn,” Rahul Gandhi said, adding, “But why the pressure at all? Because our alliance addresses the issues that are important to people.”