Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has wished speedy recovery to his arch rival Lalu Prasad Yadav. Lalu was rushed to AIIMS in Delhi following deterioration in health. Lalu, 72, was undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi. Lalu is currently serving a 14-year jail term since December 2017 after being convicted in multiple fodder scam cases.
Nitish also rued the fact that he now had to remain content with news about the ailing RJD supremo gathered from newspapers since his telephonic enquiries about the latters health in the recent past had triggered a controversy.
"Remember what his caretaker had said about me in 2018 when I was inquiring about his health? I had then decided not to inquire about his health. I only get the details from newspaper," Nitish Kumar told reporters on Sunday when asked about Lalu whom he had dethroned in 2005.
"It is my fervent wish that he gets well as soon as possible," he added.
Nitish's 'caretaker' reference was to Lalu's son and the leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav. Tejashwi who served as the deputy CM in the Mahagathbandhan government for nearly 21 months had lashed out two years ago when the Chief Minister's phone calls to inquire about his father's health fueled a controversy.
Notably, in 2017 Kumar had abruptly walked out of the coalition he had formed with the RJD and the Congress and formed a new government with the BJP. The soft corner he displayed for Prasad during his illness had triggered speculations that he was feeling uneasy in the BJP-led coalition and seeking a rapprochement with the RJD chief.
Their bitter rivalry notwithstanding, Kumar has often displayed his person affection for Prasad against whom he pulls no punches in the political arena.
Recently, while admonishing his son Tejashwi Yadav for impudence the chief minister had underscored that he has been too charitable with the 31 years old, who was also his former deputy, because he was "mere bhai samaan dost ka beta" (the son of a friend, dear to me like a brother).
Replying to queries about the states budget for the next financial year, which is scheduled to be tabled in the assembly on February 22, the chief minister said the people of Bihar may look forward to more development and many new schemes besides completion of the existing ones.