Lalu, Sharad Yadav silent over Nitish Kumar’s projection as PM

Patna, Oct 17 (IANS) RJD leader Lalu Prasad and former JD-U President Sharad Yadav’s refusal to comment on the projection of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as Prime Ministerial material ahead of the 2019 general election has fueled speculations about their unhappiness over the matter.

Lalu’s Rashtriya Janata Dal is part of Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance along with Janata Dal-United and the Congress. Sharad Yadav is known as the only heavyweight leader of the JD-U at the national level.

While Lalu is a former Railway Minister and former Bihar Chief Minister, Sharad Yadav is a former union Minister and currently the JD-U’s Rajya Sabha member from Bihar.

Soon after senior JD-U leaders formally began to campaign for Nitish Kumar as the prime ministerial material during the two-day JD-U National Council meeting at Rajgir in Nalanda district on Sunday, it was expected that Lalu and Sharad Yadav will extend their support.

Contrary to these expectations, Sharad Yadav preferred to remain silent despite repeated attempt by the media to get his comments on the issue.

Lalu said: “If Nitish Kumar is being projected as a Prime Ministerial candidate by his party, it is their (internal) matter. Let them do it. I do not speak on all issues.”

Last month, Lalu and his younger son Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, who is also Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, had backed Nitish Kumar for the Prime Minister’s post and dubbed him “more capable than Modi”.

JD-U spokesman K.C. Tayagi, considered close to Nitish Kumar, said: “The Chief Minister is capable for the Prime Minister’s post; he posssess all qualities to be the Prime Minister and the country’s people are looking up to him to provide dynamic leadership.”

However, Tayagi admitted that the JD-U National Council meeing has so far not passed a resolution to project Nitish Kumar as the party candidate for the top political post in the country.

Nitish Kumar formally took over as the JD-U President after the National Council ratified his election at Rajgir. Nitish was elected party President in April, replacing Sharad Yadav.

After joining hands with Lalu Prasad to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2015 Bihar assembly polls, Nitish Kumar has been trying to form a non-BJP alliance of regional parties at the national level to counter the BJP and Narendra Modi.

He even visited Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana and Kerala as part of this endeavour. Even his decision to impose total prohibition in Bihar and repeated appeals to other state governments to follow suit are seen as attempts to play a role in te national politics.