First signs of anti-BJP front in UP emerge as Nitish meets RLD chief
On the sidelines of a function attended by a galaxy of political leaders on Monday, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar initiated the task of firming up pre-poll alliances of “secular parties” in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections scheduled in 2017, and held an exclusive meeting with Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh.
With the RLD having been decimated in the last parliamentary elections, held in the backdrop of the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, Singh is understood to have expressed keenness to associate with the anti-BJP coalition that Kumar has proposed, sources said.
A day after the Janata Dal (United) national executive resolved to make efforts towards replicating the “Bihar model” in all states where elections are scheduled for next year, the one-and-a-half hour meeting is being taken as the first step towards the formation of a grand alliance.
“Political re-configurations will happen in future,” a senior JD (U) leader said.
Besides the attendance of “disgruntled” BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Yashwant Sinha, the function, held at JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s Tughlaq Road residence in the national capital, was attended by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien and Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, among others.
The function, organised to mark the release of a coffee table book on the JD(U) president’s political struggles by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, also saw big political leaders, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, home minister Rajnath Singh and parliamentary affairs minister M Venkiah Naidu in attendance.
The book ‘Sharad Yadav — Sangharsh Ke Senani, Sarvajanik, Rajkiya aur Vyaktigat Jeevan ka Safarnama’ has been written by Manoj Krishnan.