Nitish, Sonia plotting to counter BJP?

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and is learnt to have discussed the possibility of "like-minded" opposition parties fielding a common candidate for the presidential poll. "But it is up to an all-India party like the Congress to take the initiative forward", said JD (U) spokesperson KC Tyagi.

The meeting followed a discussion between Gandhi and Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) president Nitish Kumar on the issue yesterday, sources said. "Sonia Gandhi being the most senior leader of Bihar alliance should take the lead in the matter", Tyagi told ANI.

Nitish has repeatedly said that the Presidential elections in July is the first test for any Opposition unity ahead of 2019's big faceoff.

The meeting assumes significance at a time when both BSP and SP have come out in support of building an anti-BJP platform.

Sources said the meeting between Nitish and Sonia took place on the invitation of the Congress president.

In the electoral college that votes for the President the BJP's alliance has almost 48 per cent votes and it can cross the half-way mark with the support of friendly parties like the TRS and AIADMK.

Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said, "Sonia Gandhi called me a week ago, she asked about my health and my family members". Congress should take the lead and there should be a consensus candidate.

Kochi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today stressed the need for a strong opposition unity to check the run of the BJP. He had also shared his "concern" with leaders of NCP, CPM, CPI and INLD over the possibility of BJP propping up "somebody with RSS background" for the post. "BJP is not a threat to regional parties".

Nitish Kumar had earlier come up with an idea of non-NDA parties coming together commonly for the presidential elections in February when he had held meetings with Yechury and Reddy in capital.

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