India Elections : Congress, Left woo Nitish

Nitish’s Janata Dal (United) may be one of the pillars of the NDA alliance; Nitish may refute ad nauseam all speculation about his breaking away. But politicians in rival parties insist he has not spurned their advances.

After Rahul Gandhi’s press conference in Delhi on Tuesday in which he praised Nitish, West Bengal’s CPM chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee joined the fray at a rally in North Kolkata on Thursday night. “Nitish Kumar will go neither with the BJP nor the Congress,” he said. “He will come with us.”

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party supremo Ram Vilas Paswan both staying away from a cabinet meeting on Friday, still more speculation swirled about their absence being an expression of their annoyance with Rahul’s statements about Nitish.

The Congress’ media in-charge, M. Veerappa Moily, on Friday said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was polluting his secular credentials by aligning with a communal party like the BJP to remain in power. “If he wants to remain in the communal cauldron and burn himself, I do not think anybody can save him.”

While party sources say Moily has been dropped as the AICC media head because “the party High Command is unhappy with his stand on some critical issues”, it’s clear the trigger was his speaking out of party’s line on JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, who the party is seen to be actively pursuing as an ally.

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