By Express News Service
PATNA: An invitation from INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala to attend the birth anniversary event of his father and the former deputy prime minister Devi Lal in Jind has put Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a Catch 22 situation.
Observers said if Nitish attends the September 25 Jind event, it could deteriorate JD(U)’s already strained relations with the BJP, with whom it shares power in Bihar, but if he skips the invite, he may lose the chance to share stage with a constellation of national leaders, cherry-picked by Chautala to form a non-BJP and non-Congress Third Front ahead of the 2024 election.
While Nitish has not confirmed the receipt of any invite, sources said Chautala has sent one to the Bihar chief minister. Chautala, who was recently released from prison after his conviction in a scam in Haryana, has invited Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Parkash Singh Badal (SAD), H D Deve Gowda of JD(S), Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Jayant Choudhary (RLD) to the event. However, none from the RJD or the Congress has been called.
The Jind event comes at a time when certain sections of the JD(U) have been making the Nitish-as-PM pitch. Analysts believe Nitish stands a good chance of being named as the prime ministerial face in the proposed Third Front due to his neutral political stand. “He shares neutral relations with Mamata and Sharad Pawar, among others. If a Third Front is formed, Nitish may emerge as its PM face due to his administrator skills and secular credentials.”