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‘Uncomfortable’ Nitish’s eyeing return to Grand Alliance, but doors are closed: Tejashwi

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PATNA: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former deputy chief minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav has claimed that there is no place for his ‘uncle’ and Janata Dal-United leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the grand alliance.
Tejashwi even claimed that Nitish – the JDU president – was feeling “uncomfortable” in the BJP-led NDA and wanted to return to the Grand Alliance.
“The door is closed” for his return to the grand alliance,” Tejashwi said.
Tejashwi Yadav, who is also Leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly, refuted suggestions here by the leaders of the RJD’s ally Congress that Kumar’s return to the “mahagathbandhan” could be considered if he chose to snap ties with the BJP.
“They (Congress) are not authorised to take a decision in this regard,” Tejashwi told reporters.
“After Nitish ji ditched us last year and rejoined the NDA, he tried to sell the idea to the people of Bihar that he had the welfare of the state in mind and that with the NDA in power both at the Centre and in the state, Bihar would be equipped with a double engine that will speed up its development. Nothing of that sort has happened,” Tejashwi, the younger son of RJD president Lalu Prasad, said.
Tejashwi also slammed the Centre for not considering the long pending demand for the grant of a special category status for Bihar.
“Even his (Nitish) hopes for grant of a special category status, or at least a special economic package, have been dashed. The Centre has snubbed him on this count and despite being an alliance partner, he is not in a position to confront the BJP on the issue,” he alleged.
“In this backdrop, it seems, he (Kumar) is making up his mind for yet another turnaround. The recent assertions by the leaders of his party that the JD(U) was the big brother in the NDA and that it should be given more seats in the next Lok Sabha polls point to that direction,” he said.
“But he is now left with little credibility. There is no guarantee that if we, speaking hypothetically, agree to yet another tie-up, he would not ditch us sometime later. The door is now closed,” the former deputy CM said.
To a query about a statement by AICC in-charge for the state Shaktisinh Gohil that the party leadership could take a fresh decision on Nitish Kumar if he severed ties with the BJP, Yadav said “whatever has been said, has been in reply to the pressing queries by the media persons. Moreover, they are not the people authorized to take a decision in such matters.”
“I am personally in touch with Rahul Gandhi and we have a mutual understanding that the RJD and the Congress shall be working towards building a long-term partnership.
“Moreover, it should be remembered that when Gandhi and I recently met on lunch, JD(U) spokespersons called us names and accused both of us of being corrupt. I wonder if the Congress would ever forgive the JD(U), of which Kumar is the national president, for that,” he said.
Yadav also announced his party’s decision “to take out a state-wide cycle rally against the failure of the JD(U)-BJP government in the state.”
He made the announcement, speaking to media persons at his residence in presence of a number of RJD leaders like state president Ramchandra Purve and national secretary general Qamar Alam.
He also informed that the RJD allies like Congress, the Hindustani Awam Morcha and other like-minded parties like NCP, Samajwadi Party, BSP and CPI-ML would also be invited to join the cycle rally.


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National

Rahul Gandhi did not take stand against corruption when it mattered in Bihar: Nitish

Press Trust of India

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Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Tuesday attributed his sudden exit from the opposition alliance to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s “inability” to take a stand on corruption charges against his former deputy and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

Kumar, who also heads the JD(U), claimed that his party was instrumental in the Congress getting 40 seats to contest in the 2015 assembly polls.

The chief minister said he had felt let down by Gandhi, then the party’s vice-president, when he “did not come up with even a statement that could have made me have second thoughts (about leaving the alliance)”.

 

Kumar had quit the alliance, comprising the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress, in July 2017 after the CBI lodged an FIR against Yadav on corruption charges and the following strife between him and the RJD.

“It has been always my line that there will be no compromise on crime, corruption and communalism. Their (RJD’s) style of functioning was such that it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to work. There was interference at all levels. Their people would telephone police stations with their own decrees,” Kumar claimed.

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“Rahul Gandhi had famously tore that ordinance. It was the JD(U) which insisted that it (Congress) be given 40 seats and they ended up winning 28. The RJD, despite its old association with it, was never ready to give it that much weightage,” Kumar said.

In 2003, Gandhi had torn an ordinance brought by the Manmohan Singh government with a provision to protect convicted politicians against disqualification.

Stating that he resigned as he had no other choice, Kumar said his resignation was immediately followed by an offer of support from the BJP. “So I took the decision (to join hands with the BJP) in the interests of Bihar,” he said.

“We have our differences on issues like Ayodhya, Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code since the 1990s. My association with the BJP predates the NDA’s formation in 1999. But we have always worked amicably. Even now, we are getting full cooperation from the Narendra Modi government,” he said.

Kumar had snapped ties with the BJP in 2013 following differences over projection of Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, as the prime ministerial candidate.

On a query about the RSS, he said, “I may not agree with their thoughts but I cannot help admiring their consistency and commitment towards organisation building, something those adhering to our socialist ideology never excelled at.”

Recalling the stupendous performances by the JD(U)-BJP combine in 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the assembly elections a year later, Kumar said, “Now we have an important leader like Ram Vilas Paswanwith us. So there is no reason why we should not do even better in the upcoming LS polls.”

On the opposition ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance), which comprises the RJD, the Congress, the RLSP, the HAM and some smaller parties, he said, “Even the term mahagathbandhan that they keep flaunting was given by me. After the exit of JD(U), it is just a gathbandhan (alliance)”.

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KCR’s son meets Jaganmohan Reddy, discusses ‘proposed’ federal front

Agencies

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Hyderabad: Continuing his efforts to forge a non-BJP, non-Congress front ahead of the coming Lok Sabha polls, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Chief K Chandrasekhar Rao decided to hold talks with YSR Congress to try and rope it into the proposed coalition.

K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son KT Rana Rao met Jaganmohan Reddy in Hyderabad to invite his YSR Congress party to join federal front.

Reddy is the Leader of Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh assembly.

 

These talks are the first direct conversation between the leaders of two parties since KCR floated the idea of a front as an alternation to the BJP and the Congress.

TRS’s chief KCR has already held talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal (United) leader HD Deve Gowda, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader MK Stalin.

KCR winning for a second straight term after his party’s election victory in last month’s state polls, Rao amped up his efforts towards federal front for 2019 polls due in May.

The TRS is likely to discuss with Reddy the possibility of working together in Andhra to defeat a common enemy – Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his party Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

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Massive protests at Sabarimala after 2 women try to enter shrine

Agencies

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Thiruvananthapuram: Massive protests broke out near the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on Wednesday morning after two women in their 30s tried to trek up to the shrine.

The women were identified as Reshma and Sanila, residents of Kannur, covered almost half of the 5.5 km trek to the shrine but were intercepted by angry devotees. They used started trekking at 5 am to dodge the protesters.

As the situation turned tense, police plead helplessness saying it is beyond their control. Later, women were taken to Pambha, the base camp after they were blocked for two hours.

 

The two women are part of a nine-member group who were on their way to the temple.

Kanaka Durga, along with 40-year-old Bindu Ammini, are the first women below 50 in decades to enter the hilltop shrine. Durga was attacked by her relatives on her return home on Monday.

The Supreme Court in September last year allowed women of all ages to worship at the Sabarimala shrine, overturning a centuries-old ban on women of childbearing age from entering the temple.

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