Sunday, July 14, 2024

Could not have attended KCR meet even if I were invited: Nitish

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said engagements in the state would not have allowed him to attend the meeting of opposition leaders hosted by his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhara Rao “even if I were invited”.

The JD(U) leader, however, refused to see the Hyderabad event as a precursor to formation of an alternative non-Congress, non-BJP front and reiterated that it would be “in national interest” if all non-NDA parties come together.

“I don’t know about that meeting ..I am very busy right now, I would not have been able to go even if I were invited”, said the CM who has been insisting that his hands were full with the ‘Samadhan Yatra’ and the budget session of the assembly which will commence next month.

He, however, appeared to be of the view that doors were still open for an alignment with the Telangana strongman who has renamed his Telangana Rashtra Samithi as Bharat Rashtra Samithi in what is being seen as an indication of national ambitions.

“Did he not come here recently”, said Kumar, referring to the visit of Rao, popularly known as KCR, to the Bihar capital shortly after the BJP was stripped of power and the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ formed a new government.

KCR had met Kumar as well as Lalu Prasad, the president of the RJD which helms the seven-party ruling coalition in Bihar.

He also seemed to disagree with the notion that the meeting at Hyderabad, which was attended by leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Left, was a dampener for what he has termed as a “main front” that would challenge the BJP’s hegemony in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

“It appears to me the meeting was held as part of a party (BRS) event. Those invited there attended. This should not be seen as a new grouping”, asserted Kumar.

Notably, Kumar has the Congress as a junior partner of which Lalu Prasad has also been a staunch ally. There are apprehensions that KCR may be averse to the Congress which has, so far, been the principal opposition party in Telangana but faces a stiff challenge from a rapidly growing BJP.

“Let me make it clear again, I do not want anything for myself. But I am of the view that more and more opposition parties should come together in national interest”, reiterated the longest serving CM of Bihar who has often been considered a “secular” challenger to the charismatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

When asked if he would tour the country to forge opposition unity after he was through with his ‘Samadhan Yatra’ and the assembly session, Kumar replied in a jocular vein “you may then suggest to me where I should go. I would oblige”.

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