Bihar's political temperature rose by a few notches on Wednesday as Lok Janshakti Party MP Chirag Paswan met RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav in Patna to invite the latter to an event marking his father Ram Vilas Paswan's first death anniversary a few days later.
While politicians and pundits speculate a strong possibility of their coming together, the two young leaders, however, told prying journalists their meeting was a result of "family relations" that went back to ties shared by their fathers.
"I still remember having learnt some of my early lessons in managing an election campaign from late Ram Vilas Paswan in the assembly polls of 2010 which he had fought along with my father Lalu Prasad," Yadav said.
"Chirag said that he is scheduled to meet Lalu ji at Delhi tomorrow. If father's health permits, he may even come down to Patna to attend the barkhi (function held upon one year of death)," the RJD leader said.
He said that Lalu Prasad's imprisonment, besides poor health, prevented him from attending Paswan's funeral last year.
Convicted in several fodder scam cases, Prasad was released from jail earlier this year upon obtaining bail from the Jharkhand High Court. He has since been convalescing in the national capital, occasionally interacting with party workers here through video conferencing.
Yadav was also asked about his contention that Chirag, who has been cornered in his own party following a split engineered by uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, should consider crossing over to the Grand Alliance headed by the RJD.
"Nothing remains to be said by me when Lalu ji himself has expressed the wish that both of us come together," quipped Yadav, while Chirag smiled cryptically.
"I must make it clear that today's meeting between me and Tejashwi bhai has nothing to do with politics. Had my father been alive, he would have certainly liked Lalu ji and his family to be a part of any function taking place in my family. I am just carrying forward the tradition," said the Jamui MP who has been left cornered in the party floated by his father even as his rebellious uncle has landed a Union cabinet berth.
Chirag was asked whether he has also extended an invitation to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, towards whom his hostile stance has become a part of contemporary political folklore.
"I have sought an appointment with the chief minister. Making a demand on his time is tough, especially when it involves me," the LJP leader remarked sarcastically.
Yadav, who is the leader of the opposition in the assembly, indirectly referred to the matter and said, "On such occasions, one must not hesitate in taking some time off to meet people." Paswan's 'barkhi' is to be held at the late Union minister's residence in the city on September 12. Chirag had on Tuesday shared screenshots of the invitation cards printed for the occasion. The names of Paras and cousin Prince Raj, both of whom have turned their backs on him and sought to remain in the NDA, figured among the RSVP.