Patna: Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday made it clear that he had no intention to become the Prime Ministerial candidate for the Opposition in 2019, indicating a possible rift.
Addressing a press conference here, Nitish said he was not interested in becoming the Prime Minister (PM) face of the Opposition in 2019.
“I have said earlier also that I am not the PM face of opposition in 2019, neither I can be. Neither I have capacity nor I have such aspiration,” Nitish said and further advised media not to speculate about his name.
“Ours is a small party and therefore what is the use of having such big aspirations,” added Nitish.
He, however, on a lighter note said, “Have you ever seen the person contesting whose name had been doing the rounds?”
The Bihar Chief Minister’s announcement may come as a jolt to the Congress-led Opposition’s plan to put up an effective ‘grand alliance’ before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2019 general elections. As a politician, Nitish carries image of an honest leader who is always interested in delivering results. His name for the PM’s post could have made the Opposition’s other ‘aspirants’ silent.
Nitish also hinted that he was not happy with the Congress, which handled the Opposition’s baton for the Presidential elections. He said that the Opposition was so busy in the politics over the Presidential election that it pushed farmers’ unrest issue in the background, “which shouldn’t be ignored at all”. He maintained that the Congress was following the principle of only being reactive, which is not effective.
“I have said earlier also that the Congress is a big party and should set alternate narrative and agenda. For, Opposition needs an alternate narrative, just reactive narrative won’t work,” the Chief Minister said.
The Congress, which is a part of Grand Alliance in Bihar, is irked with Nitish after he extended support to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad launched an indirect attack on Nitish for the same and the JD(U) also reacted sharply.
On Sunday, it was reported that Nitish had held Congress responsible for the mess in the Opposition over the Presidential elections. The chief Minister, whose party- JD (U)- was an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDA for quite considerable time, said he didn’t take senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
When asked about Modi’s allegations against Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Yadav and his family members, Nitish said, “He has a habit of giving statements daily, I don’t read and neither do I have interest.”
When asked why did he skip the June 30 midnight rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the Parliament, the JD (U) leader said that “since there was no invitation, so where is the question of attending or skipping?”