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BJP-JD(U) rift widens? Bihar CM Kumar calls meeting of party MLAs, MPs

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Patna, Aug 07: Amid rumours of a rift with ally BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who skipped Niti Aayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, has called a meeting of JD (U) legislators and parliamentarians to be held on Tuesday.

The development comes hours after JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan claimed that the party was not willing to have any representative in the Union Council of ministers although he rebuffed speculations of a rift with ally BJP asserting "all is well".

BJP-JD(U) rift widens as Bihar CM Kumar calls meeting of party MLAs, MPs

JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, who addressed a press conference, responded to queries about Nitish Kumar's absence at the NITI Aayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the terse remark "you should ask the chief minister".

While there has been no official word on the reason behind Kumar's absence, the Chief Minister said he has excused himself citing post-COVID debility, PTI sources said. The septuagenarian, who had tested positive on July 25, interestingly, attended a function in Patna, organised on the occasion of National Handloom Day, where he shared the dais with his cabinet colleagues, including senior BJP leaders Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Tarkishore Prasad.

Lalan, who was regarded as a frontrunner by some for a ministerial berth from the JD(U) after RCP Singh's resignation, clarified that the party wasn't willing to have any representative in the Union Council of ministers. "We had decided in 2019, after the Lok Sabha polls, not to join the government at the Centre. We stick to that stand even now," he said.

"The decision not to join the Union government was taken by our leader Nitish Kumar who was then also the party's national president," said Lalan.

When pointed out that RCP became a minister in 2021, he shot back, "You should ask him (RCP) who was the national president at that time. He did not take anybody in the loop while arriving at the decision."

He also attacked former Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan for hatching a conspiracy to shorten Nitish Kumar's stature. "There was a conspiracy against CM Nitish Kumar and that is why we won only 43 seats (in the Assembly) but now we are vigilant. A model appeared in 2020 polls in the name of Chirag Paswan, while another is being made at present," he said.

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