PATNA: With the Opposition naming Meira Kumar as its Presidential candidate, Bihar CM and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar was caught in a dilemma, a day after announcing his party’s support to NDA’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind.
Senior JD(U) leaders gathered at Nitish Kumar’s residence in Patna on Thursday and sources said the appeal by JD(U) ally and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to Nitish Kumar to change his decision to support Kovind was what prompted them to renew their discussions on the issue.
“It has now become a complex situation. Meira Kumar is a leader from Bihar. She is a Dalit leader and a five-term MP. She was LS Speaker and has a clean image…” said a senior JD(U) leader. He admitted that Kumar’s nomination has put pressure on JD(U) to rethink its decision to support Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh.
Lalu Yadav, who had maintained an uneasy silence on Nitish Kumar’s support to Kovind, said his party would support Meira Kumar and appealed to Nitish to change his decision. Yadav said in Delhi after the UPA meeting that he is waging “an ideological war and not concerned with good personality”. This was in reference to Nitish Kumar’s praise of Kovind as a “good person” and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s description of the former Bihar Governor as a “politician from BJP-RSS camp”.
Sources said JD(U) leaders, including party’s State unit chief and Rajya Sabha member Vashistha Narayan Singh and some cabinet ministers, received calls from Nitish Kumar’s residence for an “urgent meeting” after Meira Kumar was named UPA’s presidential candidate. JD(U) leaders, however, indicated that there was little likelihood of Nitish Kumar changing his decision to support Kovind.