New Delhi: Congress might be cosying up with Nitish Kumar lately, but seems oblivious of the fact that the Bihar Chief Minister had entered into politics with a "wound" because of "unjust" treatment given to his father by the party.

The claim has been made in a just-released book which says Congress had denied nomination to Kumar's freedom fighter father Ramlakhan Singh from Bakhtiyarpur in the first general elections to the Bihar assembly in 1952 as well in 1957.

Feeling hurt, Kumar's father ultimately decided to quit Congress and unsuccessfully fought against it from Janata Party, according to the book titled "Nitish Kumar and the rise of Bihar", written by his childhood friend Arun Sinha.

"Somewhere deep in his mind Nitish felt his father had been treated unjustly by the Congress. His father had passed on his political wound to him," it claims.

Nitish's father was a freedom fighter. He was also an ayurvedic practitioner at Bakhtiyarpur on the outskirts of Patna.

Mahatma Gandhi's "Quit India" call in 1942 saw Ramlakhan suspend his medical practice and plunge into the freedom movement. He was arrested and accused with heinous charges and sent to jail.

Despite being active member of Congress party, Ramlakhan was dropped from the list for the 1951-52 election because neither of the two dominant Congress groups represented by Shri Krishna Singh and Anugraha Narayan Singh saw him fitting into overall strategy of giving due representation to all castes. Ramlakhan represented a backward caste.

As part of the "deal" between the two factions, Tarkeshwari Sinha, a Bhumihar was given ticket from Patna East (later Barh) Lok Sabha seat and a Kayastha candidate Sundari Devi (sister of Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri) for the Bakhtiyarpur assembly seat. He worked hard for victory of Sundari Devi.

They were repeated from the two seats again in 1957 leaving Ramlakhan who was given a promise for ticket in 1957 "deeply hurt", the book says adding "the dam of his patience breached and he decided to teach the two factions a lesson".

Ramlakhan Singh left Congress and joined the Janata Party led by Raja of Ramgarh Acharya Jagdish and entered into fray from Bakhtiyarpur in 1957. Though he could not garner enough votes, he succeeded in getting Congress nominee defeated at the hands of Socialist Party candidate due to split in votes between Congress and Janata Party, the book says.

The book claims that "starting point of Nitish attraction towards politics was repulsion with the Congress whose ministers both at the Centre and in the state were widely seen as self-aggrandizing and caring little for public interest".

Nitish, who knew about it from newspapers and hearsay, sometimes argued with his father how he could go on supporting a political party that had degenerated from an organisation of selfless individuals to an association of selfish manipulators.

And Ramlakhan much like other Congressmen responded with criticism of Ram Manohar Lohia's irreverent "indecent" statements about the "phoney socialism" of Jawaharlal Nehru and the unruly, militant protest against his government policies.

"This would make Nitish more aggressive in defence of his political icon (Lohia)," according to the book published by Penguin Viking and released by Kumar in Patna recently.

(Agencies)

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