Nitish Meets Sonia, Calls On INLD Chief in Tihar

New Delhi
Nitish Meets Sonia, Calls On INLD Chief in Tihar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and also drove down to Tihar jail to see INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala as he called on political leaders here of non-NDA outfits with his own party faced with the task of holding on to power in state polls later this year.

Kumar also had a luncheon meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and went for a brief chat with RJD chief Lalu Prasad on his second visit to the national capital after reassuming the chief minister's post in February after replacing Jitan Ram Manjhi.

He held interactions with a number of opposition leaders at a time when merger talks for Janata Parivar outfits are on and a larger opposition unity has been visible on the land acquisition Bill issue.

After meeting Chautala, Kumar said that the INLD chief was a senior leader of the erstwhile Janata Parivar and he had come to Tihar to see him as they shared good relations for a long time.

There was no word on what transpired in the meeting between Gandhi and Kumar, which has come at a time when both Congress and JD-U along with other Opposition parties have taken a strong stand against the land Bill.

Yesterday, after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss state funding issues, Kumar had visited Samajawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at his residence.

Yadav has been asked to coordinate the merger of the Janata Parivar parties. That plan has got stuck on issues like a common flag and common party symbol besides clarity on the leadership issues.

Chautala is convicted in the teachers' recruitment scam case. INLD is one of the splinter groups of the erstwhile Janata Parivar. Others include Janata Dal (Secular), Kamal Morarka's SJP and Rashtriya Janata Dal along with Kumar's JD-U.

The unity move of these splinter groups was made public in December last year when Mulayam Singh had hosted a lunch for leaders of the other five parties, where the leaders asked him to finalize the modalities.

Kumar, a known detractor of Modi, is considered a key opposition face. His party had declared its support for AAP during Delhi Assembly polls and had not fielded any candidate in the state.

He had yesterday met Modi here for the first time since he ended his party's 17-year-old alliance with BJP nearly two years back after the latter was projected as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate.

BJP had virtually decimated the "secular alliance" in Bihar, bagging 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2014 General Elections. That debacle had forced Kumar and Prasad to come together later.

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