Pradhan meets Nitish for 2nd time in two months, says all’s well

Updated on Jun 28, 2022 09:41 PM IST
Pradhan’s visit to Kumar comes amid reports of a deepening rift between their parties, which are the key constituents of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar honours union minister Dharmendra Pradhan at his official residence in Patna on Tuesday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar honours union minister Dharmendra Pradhan at his official residence in Patna on Tuesday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
By, Patna

All is well in the NDA in Bihar and differences of opinion between BJP and JD(U) notwithstanding, Nitish Kumar will complete his current term as chief minister, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said here on Tuesday.

The senior BJP leader was talking to reporters here after a meeting the chief minister as part of canvassing for NDA’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.

Pradhan’s visit to Kumar comes amid reports of a deepening rift between their parties, which are the key constituents of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state.

Pradhan, the union minister for education, skill development and entrepreneurship, landed in Patna in the afternoon and drove straight to Kumar’s official residence, where the two held a closed-door meeting for 20 minutes, party functionaries said.

This was the second meeting between the two within two months, the last one being on May 7.

State BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal and union minister of state for home affairs Nityanand Rai accompanied Pradhan to the CM’s house but returned after dropping him there.

Later, in an interaction with reporters, the union minister, who has formerly been the party’s in-charge for Bihar from where he has also been elected to the Rajya Sabha in the past, was asked about the growing perception that the party’s old ties with the chief minister’s JD(U) were under strain.

“There is no discord. Different parties do freely air divergent points of view in a democracy,” said Pradhan, who, interestingly, was speaking in presence of Jaiswal, whom the JD(U) often accuses of treading on its toes.

When pointedly asked whether Kumar will complete his current tenure, the BJP national executive member quipped “definitely” (bilkul), seeking to debunk rumors that his party, which now has far more MLAs than the JD(U), was desperate to have the upper hand.

“Nitish ji is NDA’s leader in Bihar with the mandate to run the government till 2025. There should be no doubts about that,” Pradhan said.

Of late, JD(U) and BJP have been in a face-off on a number of issues, the latest being the recently announced short service recruitment scheme for armed forces, called Agnipath. Kumar’s party has pushed for a rethink on the scheme, which sparked off widespread and violent protests, including in Bihar.

After his last meeting with Kumar on May 7, Pradhan had said the former would remain the state’s CM till 2025 and that the BJP would not do anything to disturb the present NDA set-up in Bihar.

According to BJP sources, Pradhan is most likely to take over as BJP’s in-charge of party affairs in Bihar from Bhupendra Yadav, also a union minister.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vijay is chief of bureau, Patna. He has spent 21 years in journalism and covers political beats and public affairs.

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