Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday questioned the use of the term Mahagathbandhan, which he had coined and popularized in the wake of his short-lived alliance with arch rival Lalu Prasads RJD, for the existing opposition alliance in Bihar.
To a query about Congress president Rahul Gandhis leadership in the context of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Bihar, Kumar quipped why are you using this term. It was I who had coined it. He (Gandhi) himself kept saying only gathbandhan at yesterdays rally.
Kumar, who heads the JD(U), had buried the hatchet to form an alliance with Prasad taking the Congress on board as a smaller partner after the BJP-led NDA swept the 2014 Lok Sabha polls winning 31 out of the 40 seats in Bihar.
Having stepped down as Chief Minister, taking moral responsibility for the debacle of the JD(U), which won only two seats, Kumar had envisaged a broader Janata Parivar which could take shape with the merger of his party, RJD and the Samajwadi Party (SP), which then ruled the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
This did not materialize though the Mahagathbandhan took shape and went on to trounce the NDA in the assembly polls of 2015, belying skeptics who had predicted that the alliance would be done in on account of absence of electoral chemistry between the arch rivals.
Ahead of the 2017 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, when the term was used to describe a hurriedly forged alliance between the SP riven by a bitter family feud and the Congress, Kumar had cautioned against loosely using the label and said the coalition could have been called a Mahagathbandhan only if it had included the BSP one of the major anti-BJP parties in UP.
The SP and BSP have now forged an alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, taking Ajit Singhs RLD along but keeping the Congress out of it.
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