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Nitish Kumar meets Rahul Gandhi for opposition unity, next Arvind Kejriwal

Nitish Kumar met Rahul Gandhi for the first time today since his withdrawal from the NDA in Bihar

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New Delhi:

The Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, who had come to Delhi with a long “to-do” list of “opposing the mission”, canceled the first item this evening, meeting with Congressman Rahul Gandhi at his residence on Tughlak Road. The sources said the discussion was entirely in the year 2024 and ways to unite the opposition, at the end of which Mr Kumar again told reporters that he had no ambition to take the top position.

“There are coordinated efforts to weaken the regional parties. My effort is to unite the opposition before the general elections. I have no intention of presenting myself as a candidate for prime minister,” Kumar told reporters.

But the fuss about his eye on the prime minister’s post, which began right after his split from the BJP, shows no sign of abating, despite Mr Kumar’s many protests to the contrary.

While Mr Kumar said he would like to meet the leaders of the new Mahagathbandan alliance in Delhi, he also announced that the visit aims to bring all opposition leaders under one umbrella – a task seen as a major challenge.

The list of people he wants to meet includes several disparate items.

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The key among them is Aam Aadmi Party Chairman and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Attempts to integrate him into the opposition coalition failed in 2019, as the role of the AAP in ending the United Progressive Alliance government at the center weighed heavily on Congress.

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Another leader that Mr. Kumar wants to meet is H.D. Coomaraswamy – the secular Janata Dal president, who ended the alliance with the Congress after the failure of their government in Karnataka.

The formation of the Congress-AKP coalition in 2018 to keep the BJP out of power in Karnataka marked the efforts being made to form the opposition front.

Mr. Kumar is also likely to meet NCP Chairman Sharad Pawar, who has been the main driver in efforts to unite the opposition in 2019; Samajwadi Party Chairman Akhilesh Yadav, another leader seen as upset by the Congress; and left leaders who are providing external support to his government in Bihar.

According to sources at Janata Dal United where Kumar works, the Chief Minister of Bihar is also scheduled to visit Maharashtra, Haryana and Karnataka soon on an “opposition mission”.

This last week began with the visit of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashkar Rao to Patna. Once a supporter of a non-congressional front and not affiliated with the BJP, Rao indicated that he is ready to think in a new way. When asked about this, Mr. Kumar said clearly: “Why the third front, we are working on the main front.”

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