Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi on Friday dropped a bombshell claiming that poll strategist Prashant Kishor had met her husband Lalu Yadav with the proposal that Lalu Yadav's RJD and Nitish Kumar's JD(U) merge together and the new entity thus formed declare its "prime ministerial candidate" ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
If Mr Kishor denies having met Lalu Yadav with such a proposal, he is speaking a "blatant lie", she said.
"I got infuriated and asked him to go away as I had no trust left in Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar following his betrayal," the RJD national vice-president, who is also the leader of the opposition in the legislative council, told a regional news channel.
Mr Kumar had in 2017 walked out of the grand alliance, which was formed upon his party's partnership with the RJD and the Congress. He re-joined the BJP-led NDA.
"All our staff and security personnel deployed here are witnesses. He called on us at least five times, mostly here (her 10, Circular Road residence), and one or two times at paanch number (5, Deshratna Marg - the bungalow allotted to her younger son Tejashwi Yadav)," Rabri Devi said.
"Kishor was sent by Nitish Kumar with the proposal--'let us merge both parties and declare a prime ministerial candidate'. He came in broad daylight and not clandestinely in the dark of night," she asserted.
Rabri Devi's revelation came close on heels of Lalu Yadav in his recently-published autobiography, claiming that Mr Kishor - now the JD(U) national vice-president - had met him as an emissary of Nitish Kumar with the proposal that the chief minister's party be re-inducted into the grand alliance.
Mr Kishor, who became a full-time member of the JD(U) in September last year, took to Twitter admitting that he had met Lalu Yadav "many times" before joining the party, but added, "If I were to tell what all was discussed, he (Lalu) would be quite embarrassed".
Products of 1974 "JP movement", Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar had long association with each other before they separated in mid-90s.
As a key strategist, Mr Kumar used to be known as "Lalu's Chanakya" after the latter became the leader of the opposition in 1989 in the Bihar assembly after death of veteran socialist leader Karpoori Thakur.
He had also played an important role in making Lalu Yadav Chief Minister of Bihar in 1990.
But, by 1994, differences had started to crop up between the two top leaders of Mandal campaign, that led to providing reservation in government jobs to the OBC.
Mr Kumar walked out of Janata Dal to form Samta Party with socialist icon George Fernandes.
Three years later, Lalu Yadav broke away from the party to form Rashtriya Janata Party (RJD) in 1997. The same year, Lalu Yadav lost the chief minister's chair because of his alleged involvement in the fodder scam but in an unexpected move made wife Rabri Devi the chief minister.
Nitish Kumar's Samta Party formed an alliance with the BJP in the 1996 general elections.
After a protracted fight, Mr Kumar managed to finally remove RJD from the power in 2005. Since, then Mr Kumar has been serving as CM except for a brief period in 2014 when he had quit the post after his party got a drubbing in the hands of Narendra Modi's BJP and appointed Jitan Ram Manjhi on the seat.
Mr Kumar and Lalu Yadav joined hands in 2015 and defeated the BJP in Bihar assembly election. But, they parted company again in July 2017 over graft charges against RJD chief's son Tejashwi Yadav.
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