The BJP, which reached out to Nitish Kumar twice on Monday, has said it will wait for his decisionPatna:
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will hold a meeting with his party MLAs today as speculation about his break-up with the BJP grows to a fever pitch. The Congress and RJD have indicated they are ready for Grand Alliance 2.0 if he dumps the BJP. The meeting of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United begins at 11 am. Officially, it is meant to take a call on the way forward. Mr Kumar has made his growing anger with the BJP over a multitude of issues clear.The BJP, which reached out to Mr Kumar twice on Monday, has said it will wait for his decision. Sources said the party’s chief strategist Amit Shah has reached out to Mr Kumar and had a telephonic conversation with him. Key leaders of the party’s state unit met Mr Kumar Monday.Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD, led now by Tejashwi Yadav, and the Congress have also scheduled meetings today. Both parties have indicated that they are ready for an alliance if Mr Kumar ditches the BJP. Smaller parties Hindustan Awam Morcha and CPIML have also offered unconditional support to Nitish Kumar.Mr Kumar’s grouses against the BJP have been piling up since the 2019 general election, when his party was offered just a single seat in the Union cabinet. Ahead of the state elections, the BJP backing to Chirag Paswan had divided the votes, his party said, enabling the BJP to be the big brother in the state.The allies have been on a sparring mode since – the issues ranging from BJP leaders humiliating the Chief Minister to Mr Kumar’s efforts to remove the Speaker, to the government’s failure to crack down on protesters against the Agnipath scheme for the armed forces.In the latest instance, Mr Kumar – sources close to him indicated – feels that the BJP’s Amit Shah has been trying to remote control the state government by installing ministers close to him. The BJP, JD(U) leaders have alleged, had even dictated who will get the party’s sole berth in the Union cabinet – RCP Singh – who Mr Kumar felt was Amit Shah’s instrument.What brought on the meltdown was the dismantling of the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra – the planning of which was publicly attributed to the BJP by Mr Thackeray’s challenger Eknath Shinde. Sources indicated that Mr Kumar was concerned about a similar turn of events in Bihar. The JD(U) has condemned BJP chief JP Nadda’s statement that “Only the BJP will remain, regional parties will disappear”.RCP Singh has not been offered another turn at the upper house, Rajya Sabha, forcing him to step down from the Union cabinet. Over the weekend, Mr Singh quit the JD(U) after the party accused him of corruption, declaring that Mr Kumar was jealous of PM Modi, but he would not get anywhere.According to sources, BJP leaders’ public criticism of Nitish Kumar had soured the ties between the two allies. But the national party’s backing of RCP Singh and dictation of terms was a major blow to the alliance.Unhappy with the BJP since Narendra Modi was announced as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA in 2013, Nitish Kumar had allied with the RJD and the Congress two years later. But he ended it in 2017 citing corruption charges against Tejashwi Yadav, his deputy at the time, and partnered with the BJP once again.