Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will skip Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Bihar on Saturday in a fresh sign of underlying tensions in the grand alliance ahead of the assembly polls.
Nitish is the second grand alliance leader to stay away from Rahul’s rally after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad.
The RJD supremo is said to nurse a grudge against the Congress vice-president for trashing an ordinance to protect tainted politicians about two years ago.
Lalu, instead, had deputed his younger son to share the dais with Rahul.
JD(U) sources said the party will depute senior leader KC Tyagi to join Rahul’s rally at Ramnagar in West Champaran.
Both the JD(U) and RJD cited the seat-sharing talks as a reason for not attending the rallies of the Congress vice-president.
The JD(U) sees Nitish’s decision to not join the rally because of a clash of commitments as a move to assuage Prasad’s feelings at a time when the two parties are locked in the crucial exercise of seat-sharing.
RJD leaders said the Congress emphasis on its alliance with the JD(U) even though the RJD has spearheaded the grand alliance was another reason for giving Rahul’s rally a miss.
But the Congress played down the decision, saying the rally was a party event.