Many in the Janata Dal(U) are celebrating the feat pulled off by their party patriarch and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of organising an event where an array of Opposition party leaders, many of whom are fierce political opponents, will come together in Patna on June 23.
The feat, however, owes a lot to the role played by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav in pulling the strings behind the scenes to ensure the presence of several key stakeholders.
According to sources, it was the RJD chief who fixed the Bihar Chief Minister appointments with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and convinced them to attend the June 23 event.
Moreover, multiple trips by the Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, months ahead of Mr. Kumar’s much-publicised cross-country tour, are seen to have laid the groundwork for convincing Opposition heavyweights, including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as well as Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president and Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, to attend the meet in Patna.
Mr. Yadav was flown in a chartered aircraft to attend the birthday celebration of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on March 1 and is said to have played a significant role in convincing him to participate in the June 23 meeting.
Mr. Yadav was also part of a political event in Kozhikode last month, where he shared the stage with several regional leaders, including Kerala Chief Minister and Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan.
The RJD leaders are hoping that apart from bringing the Opposition parties together in time for the next year’s Lok Sabha election, the June 23 meeting will also have a big announcement for Mr. Yadav.
“We are hoping that some major decision would be taken during the Opposition meeting so that it can clear the path for our leader to lead the State,” a senior RJD leader said on condition of anonymity.
So far, the Opposition leaders who have confirmed their presence at the June 23 meeting in Patna include Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti.