Nitish Kumar wishes speedy recovery to Lalu, but won't call. Here's why
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday wished a speedy recovery to his political rival and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was shifted to Delhi by air ambulance on Saturday from Ranchi where he is being treated for multiple ailments.
Kumar, however, said he gets to know about Lalu's health from newspapers since he hasn't spoken to him on phone.
When asked why there has been no telephonic conversation between the two leaders, the chief minister said, "I used to frequently call up his personal attendants and enquire about his well being when he had similarly fallen ill in 2018. So many things were said about me because of that."
In 2017, Kumar had walked out of the coalition he had formed with the RJD and the Congress and formed a new government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Later, the phone calls Kumar made to Lalu during his illness in 2018, triggered speculations that he was feeling uneasy in the BJP-led coalition and seeking a rapprochement with the RJD chief.
Lalu had undergone a fistula operation then. But his son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav had dismissed it as "last courtesy call". Kumar had then said the he called up Lalu keeping aside his political differences, but Tejashwi had said the door is closed for his (Nitish's) return.
On Sunday, Kumar said, "I want him (Lalu) to recover well soon. You know that when we were in different camps earlier then also I used to enquire about his health. In 2017-18, his family members had said that I do not enquire about his health but I want him to recover soon." He was speaking outside the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) state headquarters in Patna, where he had gone to pay tributes to former chief minister and OBC stalwart Karpoori Thakur on his birth anniversary. Both Kumar and Lalu consider Thakur to be their political guru.
Recently, the Kumar had admonished Yadav for impudence. Speaking in the state Assembly in November last year, the Bihar chief minister had underscored that he has been too charitable with the 31-year-old, who was also his former deputy, because he was "mere bhai samaan dost ka beta (the son of a friend, dear to me like a brother)".
Yadav had made serious allegations against Kumar in connection with a murder case.
In the Assembly election held last year, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprising Kumar's JD(U) and BJP defeated the RJD-led grand alliance. The NDA, riding on the back of BJP's best ever performance in Bihar, won the election after a close fight, scraping past the majority mark with 124 seats as grand alliance’s 111 seats. The majority mark in the 243-seat Assembly was 122.
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