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'Congress ready to back Nitish for Bihar's top job'

The Congress will back Nitish Kumar as the candidate for the Chief Minister's post in the Assembly Elections in Bihar, which will be held later this year, sources said.

"If Lalu Prasad and Nitish  Kumar are not able to secure the alliance and the Congress has to choose between two, this time it is keen to go with Nitish," said a senior leader of Congress.

The decision was made on Saturday after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with Bihar Congress president Ashok Choudhary.

The Congress has been supporting the state's JD(U) government since Kumar parted company with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in June 2013.

Its current decision comes as the ambitious plans of putting up a united front by the three splinter groups of the Janata Parivar fell flat and a rift surfaced between the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and JD(U) over the state's top job.

On Thursday, after a week of hints, Prasad's RJD finally commented that Kumar could not be the Chief Ministerial candidate of an alliance "that includes us".

With the BJP talking to former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi – whom the JD(U) expelled after his rebellion – both the Congress and the JD(U) are seen as facing a disadvantage. Manjhi commands a huge following among the Mahadalits, a chunk of the poorest voters, which will supplement the BJP's upper caste votebank in case he joins the party. But now that Prasad has indicated that he is all for a negotiation, Congress, the leader said, wants the two socialist chiefs to expedite the alliance talks and clear the confusion. 

Swaraj Abhiyan to intervene in polls: Yogendra Yadav   
Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Yogendra Yadav on Sunday said their movement 'Swaraj Abhiyan' would intervene in the upcoming Bihar polls  and might extend support to political parties. "Bihar polls are coming and there is a lack of political options in the state. Our duty in this situation is to intervene positively, knock and interfere. We can even extend support to some political parties. We'll take a decision over these at our national working committee meet on June 2," Yadav said.
Agencies

Agencies

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