Patna: Confirming his party's stand, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) President Nitish Kumar today said he is not going to Lucknow for the November 5 Samajwadi Party foundation day function.
"I will not be able to go to Lucknow for the function (of SP) due to Chhath festival. Chhath is observed in my house and 'Kharna' (an auspicious part of the festival) falls on November 5. In such a situation it will not be possible for me to go there," Kumar told reporters.
JD(U) had made it clear yesterday that the party president would not be able to make to the SP program and Kumar himself made it public today.
Its ally RJD's President Lalu Prasad has confirmed his participation in the function but Kumar's absence is bound to weaken Mulayam Singh's efforts to cobble up a broad coalition of socialist and secular forces ahead of the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh early next year by parading prominent leaders on one platform.
Kumar, who returned to Patna last night from Delhi where he led talks with JD(U) veteran Sharad Yadav, said a Bihar-like 'mahagathbandhan' is possible in UP only on the condition of SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joining hands, which is, however, not seen anywhere.
Otherwise, only 'gathbandhan' (alliance) is possible in the crucial assembly poll in UP. "However, all paths are open for a tie-up as much time is left for UP poll," he said.
Kumar, who scripted victory in Bihar together with RJD and Congress, said during his stay in Delhi he had telephonic talks have been held with RLD chief Ajit Singh but no discussion had taken place with Congress.
While Kumar attributed his non-participation in the Lucknow function to Chhath, Bihar JD(U) President Basistha Narayan Singh had said yesterday the party does not wish to be seen standing with any one group in view of the raging feud between Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle and SP state president Shivpal Yadav.
"There is a fight within Samajwadi Party family and we do not want to be seen with any one side in this feud."
Some JD(U) leaders even said the invitation for the function came from Shivpal Yadav and not from SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
They also vented their anger at the role played by SP chief in foiling attempts of the merger of six parties of Janata Parivar and the party entering the Bihar poll against the Grand Alliance.