Lalu and Nitish move in different directions on presidential nominee too
Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and leader of his major coalition partner Lalu Prasad Yadav seem to be on different wavelengths once again.They seem to be holding divergent views this time on the presidential candidate.
While Nitish appears to be in favour of appointment of Ram Nath Kovind as the new President, Lalu has reservation about him. Not only the leaders, the two parties they represent have also moved in different directions.
Lalu's Rashtriya Janata Dal and some other opposition parties are meeting on Thursday to take a final call on the presidential election issue. But Nitish's Janata Dal (U) has called a meeting a day earlier to discuss the same issue.
Of the two, Nitish has already expressed his love for Kovind who has been the constitutional head of his state since August, 2015. Soon after the announcement of his name, he met and congratulated him. He has not left it at that. Nitish has called the decision a "matter of pride for the state of Bihar".
There are reasons behind his happiness. It was Kovind who had approved his prohibition bill after it was passed by two houses of state legislature and helped him implement it despite opposition by many who called the bill " draconian".
Though Nitish has not said much beyond expressing his pleasure over selection, two of his party colleagues have hinted at party's support to Kovind. Party general secretary K C Tyagi and senior leader Shyam Razak have said, praising him, that although he belonged to a different party he did not do anything against the interest of their party. The two worked in tandem.
Lalu, on the other hand, has talked of election and has not said anything in four of the NDA candidate for the top constitutional post.
It is not the first time that Lalu and Nitish have not shared a page. In the 2012 presidential election too Nitish had backed Pranab Mukherjee against the wishes of his political friends. The two had also differed on the demonetisation issue. Lalu may not like the BJP for another reason-- seizure of properties of his sons and daughter ordered by Income Tax department on Monday.
However, whether Lalu likes it or not Kovind has adequate support to become the 14th president. Bahujan Samaj Party may also go in his favour. Party chief Mayawati has already said that if there was no other Dalit candidate she would go for him.