The Opposition parties may have closed ranks in Parliament against demonetisation, but in Bihar the ruling grand alliance members are singing different tunes.
In a surprise move, Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, has extended full support to the decision, while his alliance partners, the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), have opposed it vehemently. This has cast doubts on the strength of the alliance.
“Ours is a national party and we’re in the grand alliance government following decisions taken by our high command…if our leadership asks us to part ways with the State government, we’ll do it at once…we’re only committed to the Congress”, State Congress president Ashok Chaudhary said on Wednesday, while leading a protest march here.
Asked why the JD(U) was supporting the Central government’s decision, Mr. Chaudhary said: “Every political party has got the right to take its own decision on the issue…we’re with the decision of our high command and don’t care who says what.”
Similarly, a few days back, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, senior leader of the RJD, the major partner in the ruling alliance, said that Mr. Kumar’s decision to support the demonetisation decision has “certainly cast a doubt on the unity of the grand alliance”.
“People are wondering whether he [Nitish Kumar] still has a soft corner for the BJP with whom he was earlier in alliance… but, we have been saying that the grand alliance is one and strong,” Mr. Singh told journalists.
However, reacting to Mr. Chaudhary’s strong statement, RJD leader and deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav said, “no such statement has come from the party’s central leadership…otherwise all political parties are free to have their own opinion on the issue…the statement does not have any effect on the grand alliance.”
JD(U) national general secretary K.C. Tyagi also took a similar stand.