The Congress has convened a meeting of its legislature party in Bihar on Monday to discuss the political situation in the state and will "welcome” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar into the opposition camp if he chose to snap ties with BJP, party sources said.
AICC secretary Shakil Ahmed Khan, who is also a party MLA, said the meeting will be held at the residence of Congress legislature party leader Ajeet Sharma and is likely to be attended by the party's in charge of Bihar, Bhakt Charan Das, who is scheduled to reach here in the evening.
“We always believe that parties with similar ideologies (samaan vichardhara) should come together. If the CM's JD(U), which believes in socialist ideology, quits BJP we will definitely welcome it. But these are early days. We will discuss the unfolding situation at the meeting in the evening”, Khan said.
Asked to comment on reports that the Kumar had spoken to AICC president Sonia Gandhi over phone, Khan said “I cannot confirm it. Only top leaders of the party can comment on such matters”.
He, however, dismissed queries about any realignment hitting a roadblock on account of the Congress' estrangement with RJD and the Left.
“We wholeheartedly participated in Sunday's 'Pratirodh march' here by the combined opposition,” he said.
About whether Congress would back Kumar or RJD's Tejashwi Yadav for the chief minister's post, Khan said, “That is a premature question. First, let Nitish Kumar officially announce that his tie-up with the BJP is over”.
Meawhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has convened a meeting of JD(U) MLAs and MPs to discuss the scenario that has emerged following the exit of former national president RCP Singh, party chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan said on Monday.
Talking to reporters here, Lalan did not react to speculations that Kumar was planning to walk out of the NDA but took exception to the claim that the BJP had decided who would be a minister from the JD(U).
“I read in the newspapers that RCP Singh has said that he was told by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that his name had been approved for ministership. He claims to have taken oath after informing the CM. But this only confirms what we have been accusing RCP of,” the JD(U) national president stated.
“Our charge is that RCP became a minister as per his own sweet will (apni marzi se). He has dropped the name of Shah. Does Shah belong to our party? Can the BJP decide which JD(U) leader will become a minister,” Lalan asked.
RCP Singh, who resigned from the party two days ago after being served a notice seeking explanation on allegations of corruption levelled by some JD(U) members, was inducted into the Union cabinet last year.
Kumar, who had facilitated the former IAS officer’s meteoric rise in politics, did not take kindly to the vaulting ambitions of the protege and RCP received a snub from the party a few months ago when he was not considered for another term at the Rajya Sabha.
Accordingly, the Union steel minister resigned upon expiry of his Rajya Sabha term but avoided venting spleen against Kumar in particular and party leadership in general until the corruption allegations served as the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back.
“The chief minister has called the meeting of party lawmakers tomorrow to know their views about the situation that has emerged in the wake of the RCP episode,” said
Lalan, who had on Sunday called Kumar the “maalik” (lord) of the JD(U) while insisting that the Bihar CM took all his decisions after due consultations with rank and file.
(With PTI inputs)