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Rabri Devi claims Prashant Kishor proposed JD(U)-RJD merger, suggested new entity declare PM candidate

Patna: Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi on Friday dropped a bombshell by claiming that poll strategist Prashant Kishor had met her husband Lalu Prasad with the proposal that the RJD and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) merge together and the new entity thus formed declare its "prime ministerial candidate" ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

If Kishor denies having met Lalu with such a proposal, he is speaking a "blatant lie", she said.

"I got infuriated and asked him to go away as I had no trust left in Nitish Kumar following his betrayal," the RJD national vice-president, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, told a regional news channel in Patna.

Nitish had in 2017 walked out of the Grand Alliance, which was formed upon his party's partnership with the RJD and the Congress. He rejoined the BJP-led NDA.

"All our staff and security personnel deployed here are witnesses. He called on us at least five times, mostly here (her 10, Circular Road residence), and one or two times at paanch number (5, Deshratna Marg — the bungalow allotted to her younger son Tejashwi Yadav)," Rabri Devi said.

 Rabri Devi claims Prashant Kishor proposed JD(U)-RJD merger, suggested new entity declare PM candidate

File image of Rabri Devi. AFP

"Kishor was sent by Nitish with the proposal — 'merge both parties and declare a prime ministerial candidate'. He came in broad daylight, and not clandestinely in the dark of the night," she asserted.

Rabri Devi's revelation came close on heels of Lalu in his recently-published autobiography, claiming that Kishor — now the JD(U) national vice-president — had met him as an emissary of Nitish with the proposal that the chief minister's party be re-inducted into the Grand Alliance.

Kishor, who became a full-time member of the JD(U) in September 2018, took to Twitter admitting that he had met Lalu "many times" before joining the party, but added, "If I were to tell what all was discussed, he (Lalu) would be quite embarrassed".

Products of 1974 "JP movement", Lalu and Nitish had long association with each other before they separated in mid-90s.

As a key strategist, Nitish used to be known as "Lalu's Chanakya" after the latter became the leader of the opposition in 1989 in the Bihar assembly after death of veteran socialist leader Karpoori Thakur.

He had also played an important role in making Lalu the Bihar chief minister in 1990.

But, by 1994, differences had started to crop up between the two top leaders of Mandal campaign, that led to providing reservation in government jobs to the OBC.

Nitish walked out of Janata Dal to form Samta Party with socialist icon George Fernandes.

Three years later, Lalu broke away from the party to form Rashtriya Janata Party (RJD) in 1997. The same year, Lalu lost the chief minister's chair because of his alleged involvement in the fodder scam but in an unexpected move made wife Rabri Devi the chief minister.

Nitish's Samta Party formed an alliance with the BJP in the 1996 general election.

After a protracted fight, Nitish managed to finally remove RJD from the power in 2005. Since, then Nitish has been serving as chief minister except for a brief period in 2014, when he had quit the post after his party got a drubbing in the hands of Narendra Modi's BJP and appointed Jitan Ram Manjhi on the seat.

Nitish and Lalu joined hands in 2015 and defeated the BJP in Bihar Assembly election. But, they parted company again in July 2017 over graft charges against RJD supremo's son Tejashwi Yadav.

Rabri Devi also expressed displeasure over Nitish's claim that the RJD supremo keeps talking to Kishor from jail, saying, "Even we do not get an opportunity for a telephonic talk with him (Lalu). And what about the claim by Anant Singh that while he was in jail, Lalan Singh (minister) used to arrange his telephonic talks with Nitish?"

A mafia don-turned-politician who represents Mokama Assembly segment, Anant Singh was earlier considered close to the Bihar chief minister, but fell out with him prior to the 2015 Assembly polls.

His wife Neelam Devi is contesting the Lok Sabha polls as a Congress candidate from Munger, where she is pitted against JD(U)'s Lalan Singh — a state minister and close aide of the chief minister.

Anant Singh made the claim in a recent interview to a local news portal.

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Updated Date: Apr 12, 2019 21:55:28 IST