Nitish Kumar Optimistic About Merger, Says Final Decision Yet to be Taken
PATNA: With the continuing logjam over Janata Parivar unification, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today sounded optimistic about coming together of the splinter parties saying "the last word has still not been said".
"Things are moving at its own speed... no last word has still been said on the merger," Kumar told reporters after a 'Janata ke Darbar mein Mukhya Mantri' programme. He, however, did not give any timeline for something concrete happening on the issue. The crucial Bihar elections in which both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar wish to stop the Narendra Modi juggernaut, are scheduled in September-October this year.
Asked about the comments of different leaders including RJD President Lalu Prasad's suggestion that a merger was not possible and now talks were veering towards either an alliance between the RJD and the JD(U) or seat-sharing in the Bihar elections, Kumar said, "I do not want to include myself in making public statements on the issue and working on the target of merger."
"Things will be in place when the time for it comes," he said and repeated a couplet of legendary poet Rahim "Dheere dheere re maana dheere sub kuch hoi, Mali sichae so ghara ritu awat ful hoi (things happen slowly and gradually and despite the gardener pouring hundred earthen pots of water, fruit comes on a tree only in the season)."
The merger exercise virtually came to a standstill after Mulayam Singh Yadav was announced its head on April 15. Merger of the Janata Parivar was not possible before the Bihar Assembly elections and any such move would now amount to signing the 'death warrant' of his own party, Ramgopal Yadav, brother of the SP chief and a member of the six-member committee to suggest on the merger modalities, had said.
In reply to a question that Lalu Prasad was insisting on roping in his detractor and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and was he prepared to lift the embargo on the JD(U) rebel, Kumar said, "is any application pending from anybody?" On another question that Congress has been siding with him vis-a-vis Prasad and wants him as CM again, Kumar did not give any categorical answer and merely said they were working with Congress in "perfect coordination."
"After JD(U) severed ties with BJP (on June 16, 2013) Congress has been supporting our government and we fought together in the by-election to ten seats in Bihar last year. We are working in proper coordination and will continue to do so in future," Kumar said. Asked that with the merger exercise stuck was JD(U) preparing its political programme alone, Kumar said every party does so and JD(U) was no exception to it. The Chief Minister remained silent when told that Lalu Prasad has said for reaching unity among parties every leader should be prepared for making sacrifice and have their conscience clear.
The exercise of coming together of JD(U) and RJD have been marked with several ups and down in recent days. After failing to come together at a meeting on the merger at the residence of Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi recently, Nitish Kumar gave miss to a function of the Nishad (fishermen) caste at Gandhi Maidan here on Saturday last in which he had to share dais with Lalu Prasad.
However, as a token of unity, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav attended the rally with Lalu Prasad. "There will be an alliance with Congress definitely and there is no confusion over it," Nitish Kumar said. Congress has five MLAs in the present Bihar Assembly and the party had also contested with JD(U) and RJD in the by-election after the general elections.