After 24 Years, Lalu and Nitish to Share Bihar Stage

lalu-nitishPATNA: Hatchets buried, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav, former chief ministers and heads of Bihar parties, will fight an important election in the state with their wagons hitched together. The Congress will serve as third wheel. 10 assembly seats will be decided in by-elections on August 21 that will be read as a portent of the possible result of the state election next year.
Mr Kumar and Lalu’s parties will contest four seats each; the Congress gets the other two. (Nitish, Lalu, Congress Reach Agreement for Bihar By-Poll) The partnership was treated as a priority at last evening’s iftaar party hosted in Delhi by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi – she shared her table with Lalu and Sharad Yadav who is the president of Mr Kumar’s party.
(Sonia Gandhi Holds Iftar, Shares Table With Sharad Yadav and Lalu) Mr Kumar and Lalu have confirmed that during the campaign, they will share a stage for the first time in 24 years, a function of their near-obliteration by the BJP in the recent national election. (Also read: Alliance Colour Visible at Lalu Prasad’s Iftar) “I agree that Nitish and Lalu had differences but there is a lot in common too, especially the socialist agenda,” said Bashisht Narayan Singh, a senior leader from Mr Kumar’s party.
The arrangement reeks of despair, says the BJP, whose Mangal Pandey declared “The situation is very clear. Two people who have lost have come together.” In the 70s, Mr Kumar and Lalu were prominent young leaders of the Janata Party. After launching their own parties, they competed fiercely in Bihar. In 2005, Mr Kumar, in partnership with the BJP, evicted Lalu’s party from power.
But his decision to end his alliance with the BJP last year proved to be a colossal mistake. (Read: Nitish Kumar Accuses BJP of Destroying ‘Brand Bihar’) Powered by Narendra Modi, the BJP swept the national election and Mr Kumar quit as Chief Minister. The government led by Mr Kumar’s replacement is supported by Lalu’s party. The two teams also collaborated on recent elections for the Rajya Sabha.

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