Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. (PTI)
PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will chair a crucial meeting of JD(U) MPs and MLAs on Tuesday, amid the buzz of a conflict with its NDA partner BJP in Bihar.
The speculation of a split within the NDA was triggered after reports of Nitish Kumar speaking to Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the phone surfaced on Monday. While the JD(U) remained tight-lipped, Congress leaders in Patna said that the party has asked all its MLAs to remain in Patna for the next few days.
The RJD which is the main Opposition party has also called a meeting of all its MLAs in Bihar. The RJD said it was ready to embrace Nitish Kumar and his JD(U) if he broke ranks with the BJP. RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary said that convening meetings of legislators by both parties on Tuesday were a clear indication that the situation was extraordinary.
Tension within the NDA peaked following the resignation of former union minister R.C.P. Singh from the JD(U) after the party refused him a Rajya Sabha seat and allegations of amassing illegal assets were leveled against him.
The JD(U) has been accusing the BJP of engineering a split within the JD(U) through Singh.
"Our party was reduced to 43 seats during the 2020 Assembly elections due to the use of the Chirag Model. A similar conspiracy was being hatched even after the elections to defame Nitish Kumar which he understood and diffused in time". JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh said.
The Chirag Model refers to the allegation that the LJP, then led by Chirag Paswan, fielded candidates only in constituencies were JD(U) contested as part of the alliance with the BJP. The JD(U) believes this cost the party many seats and made it the junior partner in the alliance.
The JD(U) also appeared upset over BJP chief J.P. Nadda’s recent comments in which he had said that "only BJP will remain and regional parties will disappear".
"Our leader Nitish Kumar has done historic work for Bihar in the last 15-16 years. Anyone can come and see the change, what Bihar used to be earlier and what is now. Bihar has become a model of good governance", senior JD(U) leader Umesh Kushwaha said.