Grand alliance to go national? Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav to meet Sonia Gandhi

Nitish Kumar and Sonia Gandhi’s last meeting before the 2015 Bihar elections was at an iftar. (file)

Patna:

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal will meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Sunday evening, two top leaders of the Grand Alliance in Bihar. This will be their first meeting in more than six years. Sources said that both the leaders of Bihar had also expressed hope that Rahul Gandhi would be present in the meeting. But Mr. Gandhi is in Kerala, taking the Congress’s Kanyakumari to the Kashmir India Jodi Yatra.

Nitish Kumar and Sonia Gandhi last met at an iftar before the 2015 Bihar elections.

The Bihar Chief Minister had met Rahul Gandhi earlier this month during his last visit to Delhi. Mrs. Gandhi was abroad for treatment at that time.

As for Mr. Yadav, he was jailed in 2018 in several fodder scam cases, after being put in isolation by the pandemic. In the coming weeks, the ailing leader, who is out on bail, will travel to Singapore for a kidney transplant.

While sources indicated that it will be a courtesy visit, some serious topics are also likely to be discussed, including taking the Grand Alliance to the national level.

That possibility is being explored by leaders in Bihar, particularly Mr Kumar working on uniting the opposition against the BJP ahead of the 2024 national election.

The meeting is taking place even as the Congress is preparing to choose its next president. The nomination process for the elections has started from Thursday.

The contest, initially expected to be between Shashi Tharoor and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, could be multi-cornered with several leaders including Manish Tewari and Digvijay Singh expressing interest.

During his last visit to Delhi, Mr. Kumar met most of the prominent opposition leaders. The list included Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Nationalist Congress chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Left leaders.

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