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Nitish Dials Lalu to Enquire About Health, Tejashwi Says Doors of Grand Alliance Closed for Him

Tejashwi also rubbished suggestions by some Congress leaders that Nitish's return to the 'mahagathbandhan' could be considered and said they were not authorised to make that decision.

Updated:June 26, 2018, 11:54 PM IST
Nitish Dials Lalu to Enquire About Health, Tejashwi Says Doors of Grand Alliance Closed for Him
File photos of Tejashwi Yadav and Nitish Kumar. (PTI)
Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday called RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav to inquire about his health, giving rise to speculation that friends-turned-foes could become friends once again.

But Lalu’s son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav quickly shut down the talk and made it clear that the "the door is closed" for JD(U)’s return into the grand alliance fold.

The RJD president, who has been convicted and jailed in fodder scam cases, is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Mumbai after he was granted bail on health grounds by the Jharkhand High Court. This is the first time that Nitish has dialed Lalu after nearly a year of bitterness.

Ever since the Bihar CM dumped the alliance, the JD(U) and the RJD have been crossing swords, but recent trouble over seat sharing in the NDA has led to rumours that there could be a fresh realignment of political forces in the state ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

However, just after the news of telephonic conversation between his father and Nitish became public, Tejashwi downplayed it as "nothing but a late courtesy call".

Taking a jibe at Nitish, he tweeted, "Surprisingly Nitish Ji got to know about his ill health after four months of hospitalisation. I hope he realises he is the last politician to enquire following BJP/NDA ministers visiting him in hospital".

Tejashwi said that he knew Nitish was feeling "uncomfortable" in the BJP-led NDA, but there was no place in the grand alliance for him.

He also rubbished suggestions by the leaders of the ally Congress that Nitish's return to the "mahagathbandhan" could be considered if he chose to snap ties with the BJP. "They are not authorized to take a decision in this regard," Tejashwi told reporters.

"After Kumar ditched us last year and rejoined the NDA, he tried to sell the idea to the people of Bihar that he had the welfare of the state in mind and that with the NDA in power both at the Centre and in the state, Bihar would be equipped with a double engine that will speed up its development. Nothing of that sort has happened," Yadav, the younger son of Lalu, said.

"Even his hopes for grant of a special category status, or at least a special economic package, have been dashed. The Centre has snubbed him on this count and despite being an alliance partner, he is not in a position to confront the BJP on the issue," alleged the RJD heir apparent.

Tejashwi, who is the leader of opposition in Bihar, said that it seems the Bihar CM is making up his mind for yet another turnaround.

“The recent assertions by the leaders of his party that the JD(U) was the big brother in the NDA and that it should be given more seats in the next Lok Sabha polls point to that direction," he said.

"But he is now left with little credibility. There is no guarantee that if we, speaking hypothetically, agree to yet another tie-up, he would not ditch us some time later. The door is now closed," the former deputy CM said.

To a query about a statement by AICC in-charge for the state Shaktisinh Gohil that the party leadership could take a fresh decision on Nitish Kumar if he severed ties with the BJP, Yadav said "whatever has been said, has been in reply to the pressing queries by the media persons. Moreover, they are not the people authorized to take a decision in such matters."

"I am personally in touch with Rahul Gandhi and we have a mutual understanding that the RJD and the Congress shall be working towards building a long-term partnership.”

"Moreover, it should be remembered that when Gandhi and I recently met on lunch, JD(U) spokespersons called us names and accused both of us being corrupt. I wonder if the Congress would ever forgive the JD(U), of which Kumar is the national president, for that," he said.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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