Nitish Kumar attends Lalu Prasad's Makar Sankranti feast

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Nitish Kumar Lalu Prasad Makar Sankranti

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday treated himself to a Makar Sankranti feast hosted by RJD president Lalu Prasad, belying speculations that the alliance between the two arch-rivals has hit a rough patch.

Prasad's younger son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav, who is also the state’s deputy chief minister, expressed delight over the visit of his boss and made light of the speculations of a rift in Mahagathbandhan.

"We were pleased to have at our place the honourable chief minister on a day we have been, since long, treating people to 'Dahi Chura' (flattened rice with curd), items made of til (sesame) and 'konhre ki sabzi' (pumpkin stew). Other colleagues in the cabinet have been dropping in as well. We welcome them all", said Yadav, who briefly interacted with the posse of journalists.

The young RJD leader accused the opposition BJP in the state of suggesting a trust deficit since Kumar took over as the JD(U) national president, replacing Rajiv Ranjan Singh "Lalan" who gave up the post mid-term.

"Ever since Lalu ji and Nitish ji joined hands, the BJP has been scared. Also, we are running a government that has delivered on its promise of job creation on a large scale. As such, there is no need for any explanation on the various theories that have been doing the rounds", asserted Yadav.

Notably, a section of the media had claimed that Lalan ran afoul of Nitish Kumar after he allegedly hatched a conspiracy to dethrone the latter so that Yadav could take over as the chief minister.

Lalan has reacted by slapping legal notices on the media outlets concerned and claimed that he relinquished the top party post to focus more on his Lok Sabha constituency.

Lalan has also said it was upon his request that Kumar, the JD(U)'s de facto leader, agreed to take over as the party chief.

Yadav was also asked about the perception that the JD(U) was running out of patience because competing claims by Mahagathbandhan partners were causing a "delay" in finding a formula for seat-sharing for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

"How do you know that such a formula has not been arrived at in Bihar? Who knows, it may have been finalised", cryptically said the RJD leader, whose party has been entrusted with negotiating, on behalf of junior partners Congress and Left, with the JD(U), which was an NDA partner till less than two years ago.