Nitish, Sonia Meeting Gives Rise to Speculation about Possible Tie-up

Nitish Kumar and Sonia Gandhi in 2015.

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New Delhi: Giving fresh fodder to political junkies something to talk about, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday met with Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi purportedly to form a national anti-BJP alliance ahead of the next Parliamentary polls in an attempt to thwart Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bid for re-election and to stymie the growing influence of the right wing Hindu nationalist outfits.

As always, however, senior party members, tried to downplay the Nitish-Sonia meeting saying it was merely a courtesy call and people should not try to read too much into it.

Kumar was said to deliver the message of all non-BJP parties unity to the Congress leader ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections that is to be held in 2019 at the completion of Modi's first term but the move is being seen as a preemptive move by the Janata Dal – U leader to project himself as the next anti-BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, a dream he is said to be nurturing for the past five years or so.

Despite his not so stellar performance in terms of development, Kumar, however, is hoping to exploit his 'clean image' to place himself in the shortlist of the next anti-BJP Prime Ministerial candidate before Congress has a chance to project party General Secretary and Congress heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi as the party candidate for the Prime Minister's post.

"There is an urgent need to bring all non-BJP parties under one big tent if we wish to get rid of the communal Modi government at the Center. Mrs. Gandhi should take a lead in uniting all the parties to take on the BJP. However, today's meeting had nothing to do with the Parliamentary elections," party spokesperson K C Tyagi said warning people not to read too much into Nitish-Sonia meeting in Delhi.

It should be noted that Congress, along with Lalu-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), is an ally of Nitish Kumar in Bihar.

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