Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, formally elevated as JD (U) chief, redefined his role as the one playing “catalyst” to unite anti-BJP forces. One-time strong ally of the ruling BJP, he has been at the forefront to take them on ever since storming back as the Chief Minister of Bihar along with his allies – Lalu’s RJD and Congress party.
Off late, clamours have been rife about Nitish Kumar may well be a “consensus” candidate against the strong BJP and its front man Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the national level.
But Kumar dispelled all such theories, saying he is not a claimant to any post. Though he was quick to add “if a person is destined to become the Prime Minister, he would become the PM one day”.
“I am not a claimant to any post. All I am saying is that we all should unite (against BJP). Is it a crime to appeal the people to unite,” he said addressing JD(U)’s national council meeting in Patna on Saturday.
Adding that the time will decide the issue of leadership, the Bihar CM, who is currently in his third term, said that if a person is destined to become PM, he will become one “whether you name him or not”.
“First of all, we should unite (against BJP). Everybody needs to make sacrifice. Grand Secular Alliance would not have taken shape if I and Lalu Prasad had not sacrificed for a particular cause,” he said referring to his ‘Grand Alliance’ for Bihar polls with once bitter rivals RJD and Congress.
Incidentally, just few days ago he had called on parties to unite for a “Sangh-free” country and repeat the Bihar experiment at the national level to oust the BJP in the 2019 general election, triggering speculation that he could lead such a front.
Coming down heavily on BJP government at the Centre alleging failure on its part and “dividing the society on religious lines”, Kumar said that if there is unity among anti-BJP forces at the Centre, BJP will not be successful in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“Be it merger, alliance, understanding whatever it may be, I want the largest possible unity of anti BJP forces. That I will continue to do. We do not have any personal interest in doing so,” he said.
Warning that the country is facing the challenge of BJP/RSS ideology, he said that BJP has forgotten all the promises made by it in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“Where is black money which it has promised to bring back”, he questioned while reminding that BJP president Amit Shah had termed it a jumla.
Ridiculing the Centre’s schemes like Start up India, Kumar said that “every day we hear a new slogan. Today we hear Stand Up India, tomorrow it will be sit down India, lay down India and sleep for ever India…. Slogans must be translated into reality”.
Kumar said that he would participate in the movement for implementing prohibition across the nation as in Bihar and he would start his campaign from neighbouring Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
He also criticised the incumbent Modi government over the issue of economy, unemployment and plight of the farmers.
“The central government has promised to make the farmers’ income double by 2022 but it should also tell about the current income level of farmers… At present, the farmers’ income is around Rs. 3,000-3,500 per month,” he said adding, “the economy too is in bad condition with banks facing problems.”
(With inputs from the PTI)