Congress Rules Out Defections In Bihar As Nitish Kumar Gives Mixed Signals

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Congress Rules Out Defections In Bihar As Nitish Kumar Gives Mixed Signals

Nitish Kumar had joined hands with the RJD in 2022 after severing ties with the BJP. (File)

New Delhi:

With Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s return to the BJP-led NDA imminent, Congress’ Bihar in-charge Mohan Prakash on Saturday said this time the people of the state may not consider this an appropriate step and will give their verdict in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

He also exuded confidence that the Congress MLAs would not switch and stay united, asserting that “no one will be able to take even a twig away from the Congress”.

Bihar is witnessing a political storm with the JD(U) president appearing to be inching towards his second political volte face in less than three years that will also impact the opposition INDIA bloc and its fight against the BJP in the general elections.

Asked about the Bihar political developments, Mr Prakash said, “There’s no ‘shunyata‘ (vacuum) in politics. The people of Bihar are more politically aware than in other states and they will decide on this matter in the polls.”

On Mr Kumar’s imminent switch from the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ camp to that of the BJP, he told reporters here, “My best wishes to Nitish Kumar ji but I want to reiterate that this time the people of Bihar probably may not consider this step appropriate.”

“The Congress is fully prepared. Our alliance partners are there – RJD, Left, and in the coming time the number of our alliance partners will grow,” he claimed.

Mr Prakash also hailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying he is a tall leader of the country and one can rest assured when he is there on the ground.

Mr Kumar had joined hands with the RJD, founded by his former arch-rival Lalu Prasad, in August 2022 after he severed ties with the BJP which he accused of having tried to engineer a split in the JD(U).

The longest-serving Chief Minister of Bihar, thereafter, embarked upon a drive to bring together all parties across the country to take on the BJP that culminated in the formation of the opposition INDIA bloc.

The RJD has 79 MLAs, BJP has 78, JD(U) has 45 and the Congress has 19 MLAs out of 243 in the Bihar Assembly.

“I am hopeful that Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar, being co-architects of the opposition alliance, will continue to be part of the INDIA bloc,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told a press conference separately.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has already announced that her party will fight the Lok Sabha elections “alone” in West Bengal, while AAP leader and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has also ruled out seat-sharing with the Congress in his state. If Mr Kumar decides to return to the NDA fold, the opposition united front will take another big hit.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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