New Delhi, June 5 () Even as Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the first opposition parties meeting scheduled for June 12 had to be deferred due to refusal by Congress’ top leadership, the grand old party said it asked for another date as the top leaders of many like-minded parties were not in a position to turn up for the deliberation.
The remarks came on the day when Nitish Kumar faced questions over the under-construction bridge collapse on river Ganga on Sunday in Bihar, while he was trying to bridge the gap between the opposition parties ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking to the media here, Congress’ Bihar in-charge Bhakta Charan Das said: “I spoke to Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday. He wants all the parties’ chiefs who are capable of taking the decision to attend the meeting on June 12. This was not happening, so it has been decided to speak to everyone and arrange a meeting after June 22.”
The Congress leader’s remarks came hours after the Bihar Chief Minister speaking to the media in Patna, said: “Except for the Congress, the majority of the opposition political parties had agreed to meet in Patna on June 12.
“The Congress leadership was not comfortable with the venue. Since, there was no point in meeting without the grand old party, I asked him to discuss the party and then finalise a date. We will match the date with every opposition political party and then decide about the meeting. For now, the scheduled meeting on June 12 stands postponed,” Nitish Kumar said.
The JD-U leader had called the meeting of like-minded parties on June 12 in Patna after discussing with the top Congress leadership and also after meeting and convincing the top leaders of several parties in last one and half month.
Kumar was also conveyed of the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s return from the US on June 10, after which the date of June 12 was finalised and the JD-U leader invited several leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray among others who gave their go ahead to attend the meeting.
However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader MK Stalin then cited his engagements on June 12 and asked to postpone the meeting for another date.
Following Stalin’s request, Congress also came forward with the same proposal citing the personal engagements of party President Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, and asked to convene the meeting on June 22 or some other dates.
This demand was also echoed by CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury.
Thus, looking at the request of several leaders meeting has been postponed.