Patna: Amidst reports of Ahmad Patel meeting Sharad Yadav during the day triggering speculation of the Congress reaching out to the second largest NDA partner, JD(U) leaders on Wednesday dismissed it as a mere courtesy meet.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, himself a senior JD(U) leader, did not reply when reporters sought his comments while he was leaving the Assembly.
Devesh Chandra Thakur, another senior JD(U) leader and a close confidante of the CM told reporters outside Assembly, "Patel is an MP, so is Sharad Yadavji and parliamentarians meet each other in the Parliament very often. So what`s new in this?"
"They have met more than a dozen times...What`s big in this?" Thakur, an MLC, wondered.
Senior JD(U) leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, considered number three in the Bihar government after the CM and Deputy CM S K Modi, denied that anything was cooking between the Congress and the JD(U).
"Where is the growing closeness with Congress visible? The Prime Minister is from the Congress and the CM met him with demand for special category status," Chaudhary told reporters.
Ties between NDA partners JD(U) and BJP were strong in Bihar, he said adding in a lighter vein, if the media persistently asked this question there was a chance of a wedge been created.
Another senior minister Narendra Singh also dismissed any cracks in the relationship between NDA partners in Bihar or any talks with the Congress.
Speculations about the Congress reaching out to Nitish Kumar has been triggered by the positive vibes when he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia earlier this week, demanding special category status for Bihar.
Kumar gave ammunition to speculation about strife between longstanding NDA allies, by yesterday saying that none knew about the future.
Congress in turn also dismissed any speculation over talks
between it and the JD(U).
When contacted, Bihar CLP leader Sadanand Singh dismissed that there were any parleys between the two parties.
Singh, along with other Bihar Congress leaders are in Delhi and they had a meeting with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Besides Singh, Bihar PCC chief Chaudhary Mehboob Kaisar, party in-charge of Bihar affairs Sanjay Nirupam and Gulchain Singh Charak held a meeting with Rahul Gandhi to strengthen the party in the state.
They discussed at length different issues like implementation of central schemes in Bihar and ways to strengthen the party from the booth to state level, state Congress media cell convener H K Verma said.
Congress had shunned relationship with RJD of Lalu Prasad and LJP of Ramvilas Paswan and had gone alone in the last Parliamentary and 2010 Assembly elections. It managed to win only two seats in the Lok Sabha polls, including that of Speaker Meira Kumar from the state and four in the Assembly out of a total of 243 seats.