New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will on Saturday attend a lunch being hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in honour of visiting Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.
Notably, the Bihar CM skipped an opposition meeting called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Friday, raising eyebrows.
Questions were raised whether Saturday’s lunch could be a precursor to BJP and JD-U coming together in Bihar, and by extension on national issues.
The Bihar CM, however, told reporters that it’s “all nothing but misinterpretation”.
In a bid to downplay Kumar’s lunch with Modi, Janata Dal (United) leaders said that it will be purely an “official meeting” and nothing to do with politics.
“Nitish Kumar will submit a list of unfulfilled promises made to Bihar, including a special financial package and his old demand for special category status for the state. It is not going to be a meeting to discuss politics,” a senior JD-U leader said.
Sonia Gandhi had recently called Nitish Kumar over phone and discussed with him the possibility of a consensus opposition candidate in the Presidential Election. The Bihar Chief Minister is reported to have favoured a second term for incumbent Pranab Mukherjee.
Major opposition parties, led by the Congress, came together on Friday on a common platform and decided to contest the upcoming Presidential Election if the government does not come up with a consensus candidate — but the absence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar set off speculation about possible political realignment, more so after the recent Income Tax raids on the properties of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s kin.
On a day the Narendra Modi government completed three years in office, the luncheon meeting convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi brought together leaders of mutually antagonistic outfits in states like the Left with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, and BSP chief Mayawati face to face with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav.
The meeting also provided a joint platform for them to hit out at the Modi government policies, saying it had imposed an unprecedented burden on all sections of the people, including farmers, youth, minorities and weaker sections.
The term of President Mukherjee will end in July and that of Vice President Hamid Ansari in August this year.