Nitish drifting away from BJP after 25 years of kinship?

Kashmir Times. Dated: 8/26/2021 12:06:14 AM

NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Unless former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala (86) is bluffing, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (70) may be drifting away from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after 25 years of relationship.

A born socialist with hatred towards the Nehru-Gandhi family, the 5-time CM Nitish Kumar may be a game for returning to a Third Front of the socialists as an anti-Congress and anti-BJP forum that Chautala is trying to give birth on September 25 on the 105th birth anniversary of his father Devi Lal, a former deputy prime minister from 1989 to 1991 in the V P Singh government.

Nitish, a backward from the Kurmi farming community, is already playing his cards to become a leader of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) having 60% of the population to throw a challenge to the BJP. He led a 9-party delegation to the Prime Minister on Monday to demand the count of the OBCs in the Census 2021 alike the count of SCs and STs to establish that the OBCs have the majority to rule in the country.

Chautala has organised a get-together and a rally in his hometown of Jind in Haryana to give a shape to the Third Front. He is working on it since his release from the Tihar Jails here on July 2 after serving 10 years of imprisonment in a teacher recruitment scam case. During his confinement in jail, his eldest son Ajay Singh Chautala (60) and grandson Dushyant Chautala (33) split the party and former Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in November 2018. Dushyant, son of Ajay, is currently the deputy CM in Haryana's BJP government of Manohar Lal Khattar.

Besides Nitish Kumar, those who have consented to join the Jind congregation include former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Nitish Kumar's man-Friday K C Tyagi.

Chautala said he is also contacting the leaders of other opposition parties who are averse to going with the Congress for putting up a united fight against the BJP in the 2024 parliamentary elections.

When told that a similar experiment ahead of the 2009 parliamentary elections, spearheaded by Deve Gowda, remained a non-starter without a prime ministerial candidate, Chautala said: "All opposition parties already feel that they have to first unite against the BJP and present a united front. There will be no fight on who becomes the PM. The decision will be taken together after the elections, keeping in mind the wishes of the people."

Among those whom he has sounded for the September 25 congregation include Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad, who has been a jail bird alike him, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and others who won't be happy to go with the Congress trying to form an alternative, Chautala added.



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