Patna, Jan 25 (PTI) Many eyebrows were raised in the political circles of Bihar on Monday when the lone MLA of Chirag Paswans LJP walked into the residence of a senior JD (U) leader and key aide of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Ashok Choudhary, an influential member of the state cabinet who had handled the JD(U)s affairs during the assembly elections as the then working president of state unit, however, sought to make light of the presence of Matihani MLA Raj Kumar Singh.
'He (Singh) is a personal friend. He has been known to me for more than 15 years. He was simply here to attend the launch of a book based on a revolutionary, on the eve of the Republic Day, Choudhary said in reply to queries from journalists.
He also said 'you need to ask him whether his visit here marks a change in equations between the LJP and the JD(U). It is not for me to answer such a question'.
Singh had wrested the seat from JD(U) MLA Narendra Kumar Singh whom he beat by a slender margin of less than 100 votes.
When asked about his visit to Choudharys place, he said he has known the minister since the days both of them were in college.
He also flinched when asked about his party president Chirag Paswans belligerent stance against Kumar which the JD (U) has squarely blamed for the sharp fall in its tally in the assembly elections.
'Please do not expect me to comment on what my party president says or does', the MLA pleaded.
When asked whether his visit implied that the LJP in Bihar was now reconciled to the fact that Nitish Kumar would continue to lead the NDA in the state, he replied evasively 'the NDA is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre and by Nitish ji in the state. The NDA is not two different entities at national and state levels'.
The MLAs stance was, notably, at variance with that of Paswan who has repeatedly expressed satisfaction over having 'weakened' the JD(U) and squarely blamed Kumar for Bihar failing to reach its potential.
Paradoxically, though, the LJP chief continues to swear by his loyalty towards the BJP and the Prime Minister.
Singhs visit to the Choudharys house came barely a few days after he hosted a press conference at his residence where the lone MLA of Mayawatis BSP Zama Khan announced that he was joining the JD(U), quitting the alliance that comprised motley groups like Asaduddin Owaisis AIMIM and former NDA ally Upendra Kushwahas RLSP.
Besides the LJP MLA, those present at Choudharys residence included Sumit Singh, the Independent MLA from Chakai who has announced his full support to the NDA.
He was asked about speculations that Khan and he had been offered ministerial berths in exchange for the support they were lending to a weakened JD(U).
'I do not know of any such offer', Singh replied coyly.
Expansion of the two months old cabinet is expected shortly. PTI NAC SNS SNS