Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said he was "waiting" for a meeting of like-minded parties for the Lok Sabha polls next year once Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra' is complete.
The JD(U) leader, who has the Congress as a junior ally in Bihar, maintained that he viewed the ‘yatra' as a ‘niji' (internal) program of that party, but looked forward to a collaboration in Lok Sabha of all seven constituents of the ‘Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance).
The Chief MInister also said the JD(U) would not like to crackdown on its sulking parliamentary board chief Upendra Kushwaha, whose claim of the party becoming "weak" he rejected.
"I am waiting for the yatra to be over and for a meeting of parties (opposed to the BJP) to be convened. There, we shall chalk out the strategy for the Lok Sabha polls which is, now, not far away,” Mr Kumar told reporters.
A former NDA ally, Mr Kumar made an abrupt exit in August last year following alleged attempts to split his party, evoking accusations from the BJP that he was betraying people's mandate to fulfil his own national ambitions.
Asked about Mr Kushwaha, the JD(U) leader said, "He knew that we had won only 43 seats in assembly polls. If things appeared so bleak to him, he should not have returned. He should remember that his return to the party fructified at my instance since many were not in favour of taking him back. Our membership drive has swollen the party ranks from less than 50 lakh to 75 lakh. Our tally fell in 2020 assembly polls since our then ally (BJP) did not support us at all.”
The JD(U) had blamed its drubbing on a "conspiracy" hatched by the BJP, with the help of the then LJP chief Chirag Paswan, who fielded candidates in all seats the Chief Minister's party was contesting and gave tickets to many BJP rebels.
"Kushwaha should remember that this party has given him a lot. He owes his past stints in assembly and Rajya Sabha, and current membership of the legislative council, to the JD(U),” Mr Kumar added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)