The two top leaders of the Grand Alliance in Bihar — Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Yadav — will meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Sunday evening, sources have said. This will be their first meet in more than six years. Sources said the two Bihar leaders had also hoped that Rahul Gandhi will be present for the meeting. But Mr Gandhi is in Kerala, leading the Congress’s Kanyakumari to Kashmir Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Nitish Kumar and Sonia Gandhi had met last at an Iftaar ahead of Bihar elections in 2015.
The Bihar Chief Minister had met Rahul Gandhi during his last visit to Delhi earlier this month. Mrs Gandhi was abroad at the time for medical treatment.
As for Mr Yadav, he was jailed in 2018 in several fodder scam cases, after which came the pandemic-imposed isolation. In the coming weeks, the ailing leader who is out on bail, will be going to Singapore for a kidney transplant.
While sources indicated that this will be a courtesy visit, there is also a chance of some serious subjects being canvassed, including taking the Grand Alliance to a national level.
That possibility is being explored by the leaders in Bihar, especially with Mr Kumar working on knitting the opposition into a cohesive front against the BJP ahead of the 2024 national election.
The meeting also comes as the Congress is prepping to elect its next president. The nomination process for the election started on Thursday.
The contest, initially expected to be between Shashi Tharoor and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, may turn out to be multi-cornered, with several leaders including Manish Tewari and Digvijaya Singh expressing interest.
During his last visit to Delhi, Mr Kumar met with most key opposition leaders. The list included Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Nationalist Congress chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Left leaders.