Former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav on Wednesday ruled himself out as a possible chief ministerial candidate for the opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar, asserting that it is RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who fits the bill.
Sharad Yadav's comment comes a week after leaders of Grand Alliance held a closed door meeting with him and later said that the former Union Minister could be the five-party formation's "chehra" (face) in the absence of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad.
"There is no possibility of my becoming the chief ministerial candidate. Tejashwi Yadav is doing fine and I think he would become acceptable to alliance partners as well. I, for my part, have been involved in national politics all through my life. And I am not going to change course at this stage," he said.
Assembly elections in Bihar are due later this year.
The remarks by Sharad Yadav, who had only last week said he was "ready to play whatever role" was assigned to him, came after his meeting with Lalu Prasad.
Sharad Yadav is believed to have met Lalu Prasad as an emissary of disgruntled Grand Alliance constituents upset over the RJD declaring Tejashwi Yadav as the chief ministerial candidate "unilaterally" without taking them into confidence.
He also dismissed speculation about a ''Third Front'' taking shape in Bihar comprising parties that are opposed to the NDA and "disillusioned" with the RJD-Congress combine, and asserted the need for "a unified opposition".
Madhaw Anand, national general secretary of RLSP, said their party chief Upendra Kushwaha never said Sharad Yadav should be the Chief Ministerial candidate. "He meant the role of a patron, which Lalu would have obviously played had he been available. And never did we say we are opposed to Tejashwi Yadav. Of course, his name needs to be endorsed by all Grand Alliance partners. That may take place in due course" he added.
Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who had been threatening to upend the five-party formation, too appeared to have mellowed down.
"I never said Tejashwi is not acceptable. I have only said his name has, so far, not been formally announced by the Grand Alliance and that is a fact. When the time comes, I may myself come forward and propose his name," he said.