Former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav returned to Patna after seven months of recuperation from a kidney transplant in Singapore and an extended stay in Delhi.
On his way back, Lalu was welcomed by a large gathering of supporters, who waited to catch a glimpse of their leader in the scorching heat. Amid speculation of the two leaders coming together to form a country-wide opposition unity against the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha polls, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called on Lalu at his residence in Patna.
The meeting between the two leaders, who have been close associates since the ‘JP Movement’ of the 1970s when both were student leaders, lasted for less than half an hour. It is not known what transpired during the meeting. Lalu had extended his unconditional offer of help to Kumar, an arch-rival, and had helped him survive in power while elbowing out the previous partner BJP.
Kumar had junked the BJP, a domineering ally, in August last year, but retained power thanks to the prompt offer of support from Lalu, whose party has the largest number of MLAs in Bihar. Lalu underwent a kidney transplant and had been convalescing at his eldest daughter Misa Bharti’s house in Delhi. Upon his arrival in Patna, he headed to his significant other Rabri Devi’s home, where he sets up whenever he is in the city.
It remains to be seen whether the meeting between the two leaders will lead to a broader opposition unity against the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. However, it is worth noting that the two leaders have a long-standing association and have come together in the past to keep the BJP out of power in Bihar.