With the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party not yet moving forward on an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar cast doubts over the formation of an effective anti-BJP force in the state.
Hours after senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi echoed similar thoughts, Kumar virtually seconded the idea of his former deputy.
“Any grand alliance in UP will only take shape when SP and BSP are together. Talks were held in February but it could not move ahead. Talks were held again, but it could not take any final shape,” he said of the formation of a Rashtriya Lok Dal.
Kumar, who is not attending the SP’s silver jubilee functions in Lucknow on November 5, clarified that moving out of Bihar during Chhath festival was well impossible for him. One of his party’s general secretaries, KC Tyagi will attend in his stead.
The chief minister, however, reiterated his stand on the efforts made towards an alliance of six socialist parties.
“I have always supported any move towards unity. The talks for unity of six parties had reached an advanced stage. We tried for merger and elected Mulayam Singh Yadav as the leader… but things did not materialise,” he said.
“We tried and tried sincerely. Obstacles came in between. But this does not mean that once the efforts fail, there won't be further efforts,” Kumar added.
As far as the SP is concerned, the Janata Dal (United) is weary of ties given that the party pulled out of the grand alliance in Bihar just before the assembly elections last year.
“A fresh move will serve no end. If this alliance has to be worked out, it should be for 2019 Lok Sabha election and not only for UP polls,” said a top party leader.
Meanwhile, Kumar's decision to stay away from the SP’s function has stirred speculations in Bihar.
On Wednesday, Rashtriya Janata Dal senior leader and former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said Kumar needed “to forget all differences of past” and attend the function keeping the larger interest of an all-India alliance in mind.
“He should go and attend the function forgetting all differences. Then only can one think of a grand alliance in the country,” he said, adding that the failure to form an alliance will benefit the BJP.
However, the JD(U)’s state spokesperson and MLC, Neeraj Kumar hit back, saying, “We don't need anybody's advice (on) what to do and what not to do. Our national leadership is capable of taking decision on any issue.”