Nitish Kumar Refutes Reports Of Being 'Upset' At INDIA Bloc Partners: 'No Objection To Projecting Kharge's Name As PM Candidate'

Nitish Kumar Refutes Reports Of Being 'Upset' At INDIA Bloc Partners: 'No Objection To Projecting Kharge's Name As PM Candidate'

The JD(U) leader maintained that having taken the initiative to bring parties opposed to the BJP, he desired nothing for himself but admitted having stressed at the meeting the need to expedite seat-sharing arrangements.

PTIUpdated: Monday, December 25, 2023, 03:28 PM IST
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Bihar CM Nitish Kumar | ANI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday rubbished speculations that he felt having been passed over at INDIA bloc's meeting in Delhi last week when it was suggested that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge be made the prime ministerial face.

The JD(U) leader maintained that having taken the initiative to bring parties opposed to the BJP, he desired nothing for himself but admitted having stressed at the meeting the need to expedite seat-sharing arrangements.

Made clear I was not interested in becoming leader of alliance: Nitish

"I felt no disappointment (maayusi)....no resentment (naaraazgi)", asserted Kumar when journalists approached him with queries here at a memorial of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee where he had turned up to pay tributes on the former prime minister's birth anniversary.

"At the meeting the issue (of naming a leader came up). I made it clear at the outset that I was not interested. Then another name was proposed, I said it was okay with me", said the Bihar CM alluding to the proposal by his Delhi and West Bengal counterparts, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee respectively.

The JD(U) leader's detractors in the BJP-led NDA have latched on to the development and claimed that Kejriwal, who heads the Aam Aadmi Party and Banerjee, who is Trinamool Congress supremo, had in effect snubbed Kumar's alleged prime ministerial ambitions.

Notably, in the post-meeting press conference that Kharge addressed, the Congress president had expressed the desire to keep the issue of prime ministerial face on the backburner, underscoring that the INDIA coalition needed to first win adequate number of Lok Sabha seats.

Nitish on his insistence on seat sharing by January

Kumar, who interacted with journalists in presence of his deputy Tejashwi Yadav and a couple of senior cabinet colleagues, was also asked about his reported insistence on finalising seat sharing by January, preferably within three weeks of the December 19 meeting held in Delhi.

Without going into specifics, Kumar said "Yes I said that seat sharing should be finalised at the earliest. I had expressed the view on earlier occasions as well. I am confident that it will be done in good time across all states".

Yadav, who belongs to RJD and had attended the meeting in Delhi, concurred saying seat sharing will be "done in good time (sahi samay par ho jaega). Kumar was also asked about speculations in a section of the media that a major crisis was brewing in his JD(U) which may even suffer a split or agree to merge with RJD.

"All are working together in my party (Sabhi log ekjut hain)", said the JD(U) supreme leader, dismissing the speculations of turmoil with a broad grin.

"Just look at the progress my government is making. I had promised 10 lakh jobs and we are already halfway through", said the state's longest-serving CM, referring to an announcement he had made on Independence Day last year.

The promise of 10 lakh jobs was made within weeks of his exit from NDA and the formation of a new government with his party in Mahagathbandhan, helmed by RJD.

Yadav, the son and heir apparent of RJD president Lalu Prasad, had promised 10 lakh jobs to the state's youth in the 2020 assembly polls, which caught the fancy of voters and helped his party win the highest number of seats.

Journalists being pressurised to not show good work of Bihar govt: Nitish

Kumar, who has been accusing the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of muzzling the media, added "I have always respected journalists. Those who have known me since my tenure as Union minister will testify to that. But today you all are not able to show the good work we do because of pressure from above. Don't worry. Things will change when the regime changes".

He also spoke of the immense respect he had for late Vajpayee and highlighted that "people of no religious sect felt uneasy when he was in power".

To a pointed query as to whether Vajpayee's party BJP still showed the spirit of inclusiveness, Kumar exclaimed in disgust "What on earth are you saying (arrey! Kya Baat karte hain)"

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