Nitish meets Kejriwal
Nitish Kumar meets Arvind Kejriwal at the latter's official residence in Delhi on Sunday | Pic: Twitter/AAP

Nitish meets Kejriwal after Cong snub to AAP; focus on Oppn unity against ordinance

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal at the latter’s home on Sunday (May 21), a day after attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new Congress government in Karnataka from which the AAP convener was conspicuously absent.

Kejriwal’s relations with the Congress are far from smooth. He was one of the few non-BJP chief ministers who were not invited by the Congress to the event, which was also seen as a show of strength by opposition parties.

Kumar, on the other hand, sees the grand old party as critical to any Opposition unity bid and, at the same time, does not overlook the importance of AAP. Hence, he seems to have taken upon himself the task of building a working relationship between the two.

Eye on Opposition unity

Kumar has been meeting regional satraps as part of the unity exercise which is yet to take a concrete shape. The AAP chief, on his part, has been talking about Opposition unity as well, but without much success.

Of late, he has called for all Opposition parties to come together against an ordinance issued by the Centre, going against a recent Supreme Court order that ruled in favour of the Delhi government regarding control over the bureaucracy. The Centre has also moved the Supreme Court with a petition to review its earlier verdict.

After Sunday’s meeting, at which Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was also present, Kejriwal said if all Opposition parties come together against the ordinance, the bill can be defeated in the Rajya Sabha. That will be a semi-final before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, and the message that the BJP can be defeated will be clear.

“Nitish Kumar said he stands with us and will fight against the injustice the Centre did to Delhi. He is now uniting the Opposition across the country. I told him that if all non-BJP parties come together against the Bill, it can be defeated in the Rajya Sabha,” Kejriwal said.

Nitish support

Kumar said the Centre’s ordinance move was astonishing. “We support the AAP and will hold more meetings. We are trying to unite as many opposition parties as possible and we will run a nationwide campaign against this,” he said.

Tejashwi said the Centre was “trying to change the Constitution” with its move. “We won’t let that happen,” he asserted.

Also read: Centre’s ordinance on Delhi ‘unconstitutional’, shows Modi scared, says AAP

This is the second meeting between Kumar and Kejriwal in over a month. The Janata Dal (United) leader had earlier met the Delhi chief minister on April 12. Kumar said he would meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday.

One of the major reasons behind the Congress’s ill feeling towards the AAP is that the Kejriwal-led party has largely overthrown the grand old party from its traditional bastions of Delhi and Punjab. A section of Congress leaders believe that reclaiming these territories is the key to the party’s revival in these states and any compromise with AAP can hamper their plans.

(With agency inputs)

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