Patna: A round of political speculations has begun in Bihar following a news broke of a meeting between CPI's Kanhaiya Kumar and Ashok Chaudhary, a minister and key aide of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday. Both leaders have also posed for photographs with friends and held long discussions.
Sources close to Kanhaiya as well as Choudhary insisted that it was a "non-political" meeting and that both have known each other for long.
Meanwhile Subhash Singh, state minister from the BJP quota, called the former JNUSU president a "lunatic" (paagal) and said his meeting with a senior leader of an alliance partner was "not appropriate" (theek nahin hai).
Reacting to this meeting, JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok said that "Kanhaiya is welcome into our party if he chooses to give up his perverse (vikrit) ideology". Alok added that JDU would welcome Kanhaiya if he was willing to become a "disciplined soldier" of JDU.
Choudhary's meeting with Kanhaiya, a staunch communist, came at a time when the charismatic young politician is said to have been left mortified by a censure motion that the CPI recently passed against him in an important meeting of the party held at Hyderabad.
It is being said that many party leaders are also against him. According to reports, except for 3 members out of 110 present at this meeting, all other supported the motion against him. The party action had followed alleged manhandling of a key CPI official attached to the state headquarters
Reports says that Kanhaiya had got infuriated after he learnt that a scheduled meeting of the party's Begusarai unit was cancelled following which he misbehaved with party office secretary Indu Bhushan and assaulted him.
Earlier, there had been tensions between the aspiring leader and his party during the Lok Sabha elections when the CPI reportedly insisted that he share a part of money he had raised through crowd-funding.
It has be noted that Kanhaiya has been soft toward Nitish Kumar despite their parties rarely getting on the same page on most issues. During his failed bid for the Lok Sabha in 2019, the former student leader had avoided attacking Kumar. Kumar had come out in support of Kanhaiya when the JNU controversy erupted in 2016.
The JD(U) was then not a part of the BJP-led NDA. The two retained the soft spot for each other even after Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA in 2017.
Kanhaiya had fought from his home constituency Begusarai, where he lost to Union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh by a massive margin.
Nonetheless, the contest had created a lot of buzz and brought many celebrities from far-off places to the dusty town in support of the young leader who has been slapped with a sedition case for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at JNU.
Kanhaiya is also understood to have been disappointed with his party's decision to side with the RJD, which had queered the pitch for him in the Lok Sabha polls by fielding its candidate, and acknowledge Tejashwi Yadav as undisputed leader of the five-party Grand Alliance.
Yadav, who has for all practical purposes inherited the legacy of his father and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, is said to be wary of the former student leader who is of the same age but exhibits superior oratorical skills and grasp of issues.
Some in the ruling alliance said on condition of anonymity that the meeting could have been yet another attempt by the JD(U) to raise its stock after its unsatisfactory performance in the assembly elections.
The JDU is constantly working to increase its political clout and Ashok Chaudhary, who had headed the state unit of the JD(U) during the assembly elections has played an instrumental role by assuring the support of the sole BSP MLA Jama Khan and independent legislator Sumit Singh.
Both of whom were inducted into the cabinet last week has been awarded with a ministerial post after entering the Chief Minister's party.
Despite clarifications being made, Jama Khan and Sumit Singh joined the JDU following similar meetings. Now regarding the Kanhaiya-Choudary meeting, however, it is too early to conclude anything with certainty.