Congress warms up to Nitish | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Congress warms up to Nitish

Even as the Trinamool Congress seems to be drifting away from UPA’s group of allies, at least as far as the presidential poll is concerned, the ruling alliance is eyeing new equations with other opposition parties — especially Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), the largest partner of the BJP in the NDA.

delhi Updated: Jun 17, 2012 23:07 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji

Even as the Trinamool Congress seems to be drifting away from UPA’s group of allies, at least as far as the presidential poll is concerned, the ruling alliance is eyeing new equations with other opposition parties — especially Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), the largest partner of the BJP in the NDA.

A section of the JD(U) leadership strongly favours building a consensus around UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, instead of backing non-NDA picks such as PA Sangma and APJ Abdul Kalam. JD(U)’s Rajya Sabha MP Shivanand Tiwari, considered close to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, backed Mukherjee's candidature on Sunday, even as the NDA deferred its decision on the presidential candidate.

“We don't expect Kumar to snap ties with the BJP and rally behind the UPA government on all issues. But widening discontent within the NDA certainly helps us politically, ahead of the 2014 general elections,” said a top Congress minister.

The Congress is fully aware that it cannot be an alternative to the BJP for Nitish Kumar, with just 4 MLAs in the state. However, with the uneasiness between Kumar and BJP's Narendra Modi brewing into a war of words, the Congress has long stopped launching any attack on the JD(U) chief.

It has also warmed up to the Bihar CM in the run-up to the presidential poll.

Putting an end to the controversy over the location of the proposed central university, the Centre has now decided to build two campuses — at Gaya and Motihari.

The adherence to Kumar's wishes, who wanted the institute at Motihari, will make Bihar the second state after Jammu & Kashmir to have a central university with two campuses.

Last month, the rural development ministry also approved the construction of 6,000-km roads in Bihar under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), with an allocation of R3,200 crore. The Centre also decided to stop its agencies from laying these stretches and hand over the responsibility to state agencies — despite their poor track record.

Consequently, a happy Bihar chief minister shot a letter to rural development minister Jairam Ramesh recently, showering lavish praises.

Over the last three years, no new PMGSY roads were allotted to Bihar.