PATNA: In a clear hint of a rift with BJP, JD(U) chief Lalan Singh said the party would not join the government at the Centre. “We had decided in 2019, after the Lok Sabha polls, not to join the Modi government at the Centre. We stick to that stand even now,” he said.
Although Singh refrained from mentioning names, the conspiracy charge reflected deeply held conviction in JD(U) that Chirag’s decision to contest all the seats where Nitish’s candidates were in the fray, while sparing BJP, was part of a political plot to peg the CM down and help the saffron party become the senior partner.
“The Chirag model was applied during the 2020 assembly polls. Another ‘Chirag model’ was being prepared. If required in future, I will reveal how and when conspiracies were hatched against JD(U) to downsize the towering political personality of Nitish Kumar,” said Singh. “But now, we all JD(U) workers and leaders are alert under the leadership of Nitish and we will not allow any conspiracy against our party,” he added.
The conspiracy charge intensified the speculation already doing the rounds about the reasons why Nitish stayed away from the Niti Aayog meeting, which had been convened by PM Narendra Modi and was attended even by chief ministers of non-BJP states. Although Nitish has just recovered from Covid, Patna was abuzz with speculation that there could be something more to his absence from the meeting attended by non-NDA chief ministers Mamata Banerjee, Ashok Gehlot, Bhagwant Mann, Naveen Patnaik, Bhupesh Baghel and YS Jaganmohan Reddy.
Lalan Singh’s attack came on a day when RCP Singh, angered by what he called “below-the belt” attack on his family for acquiring plots through allegedly corrupt means, vowed revenge and said that joining BJP was an option for him. The former JD(U) chief, who was Nitish’s closest confidant for more than two decades, also said that he had joined the Union Cabinet at Nitish’s insistence. According to the former steel minister, Nitish also said that Lalan Singh could take his place as JD(U) chief. The assertion undercuts the theory that has been floated by figures in CM’s circle that Nitish could not be blamed for Lalan Singh failing to find a seat in Modi Cabinet since it was RCP Singh who “misused” his position as party chief to nominate himself. RCP Singh even gave the date on which he was asked by Nitish to take oath.
BJP has been steadfast in rejecting the conspiracy theory about Chirag being an accessory in a plot to downsize Nitish as a lame alibi for JD(U)’s own failures and the diminished popularity and credibility of the CM. Though they have preferred not to join issue with the estranged partner, senior BJP sources have pointed out that at many places JD(U) finished a poor third and, also, that Chirag fielded candidates even against BJP.

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