- Nitish Kumar in unprecedented tension with ally Lalu Yadav
- Bihar Chief Minister praises BJP again at party meeting
- Chief Minister voting for BJP's candidate in presidential election today
His decision to side with the BJP raised a considerable contretemps with his allies - Lalu Yadav and the Congress. If, during his nationwide tour to gather support, Ram Nath Kovind had stopped in Patna, the Chief Minister would have been forced to make a tough call on whether to meet him or ignore his stopover. The former would have meant more jousting with his partners, the latter would make it seem like the criticism of his cross-voting has stuck.
Meira Kumar, who is the candidate of 18 opposition parties that say they are committed to fighting the BJP, did visit Patna recently - Nitish Kumar departed the evening before she arrived for the town of Rajgir, with his office saying he was unwell. That spared him from having to see the former MP from Bihar whose candidature he is opposing. His party is officially a member of the anti-BJP front and on the matter of Vice President, who will be elected next month, he is backing its choice, former Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. The government has yet to announce its candidate.
However, the Chief Minister's partnership with Lalu Yadav is in tatters, with him insisting on the resignation of Tejashwi Yadav, who is Deputy Chief Minister and Lalu Yadav's son, because the 28-year-old has been charged with corruption by the CBI. Sources say that after the voting for President is completed today, the negotiations over Tejashwi Yadav's removal will accelerate.
Follow detailed coverage of the 2017 Presidential Election here.