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Patna CM Nitish skips Nishad rally, avoids Lalu

Amid prevailing suspense over merger and seat-sharing between RJD and JD(U), chief minister Nitish Kumar skipped another occasion to share the dais with RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the fishermen's rally on Saturday. It instantly triggered speculation about the growing hiatus between the two leaders.

patna Updated: May 30, 2015 18:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Amid prevailing suspense over merger and seat-sharing between RJD and JD(U), chief minister Nitish Kumar skipped another occasion to share the dais with RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the fishermen's rally on Saturday. It instantly triggered speculation about the growing hiatus between the two leaders.

Both the leaders were scheduled to be present at the Nishad (fishermen) rally along with JD(U) president Sharad Yadav to project unity among the Janata Parivar.

While Lalu and Sharad participated in the rally, Nitish Kumar was conspicuous by his absence.

Though Kumar attended an official function to launch the construction of Ambedkar residential school buildings and inaugurated godowns for grain storage, he announced cancellation of his participation in the Nishad rally, which he was scheduled to inaugurate.

When asked about his skipping the rally, in which he was to share dais with the RJD chief, Kumar said it was because of his recent eye operation.

"I will not be able to make it to the programme due to laser surgery of my eye. I had informed the organisers about it beforehand," he said.
However, state animal husbandry minister Baidyanath Sahni, who played an important role in organizing the Nishad rally at Gandhi Maidan, said no politics should be read into it.

"Nitish Kumar could not attend the rally because of his recent eye operation. One should not read any political meaning into it," the minister said.

State JD(U) chief Bashistha Narayan Singh and other ministers considered close to Nitish Kumar were also absent at the rally, which was billed as a "show of unity" between the two parties.

It was the second occasion when Kumar was not present with "Bade bhai" (elder brother) Lalu Prasad at a public platform after nearly two decades.

On April 19 last, Kumar was absent from a rally at the same venue in the state capital where he had to share the dais with the RJD chief.

When confronted, the RJD chief said that the national presidents of the two parties were present at the function indicating himself and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav. "Don't you see, me and Sharadji are here," he said.

First Published: May 30, 2015 18:28 IST