No deal with Congress, not in PM race: Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on Friday said his party was compelled to break the 17-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party as it has deviated and taken a different position.
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on Friday said his party was compelled to break the 17-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party as it has deviated and taken a different position.
Justifying the decision, Nitish in an interview to a English news channel said the JD(U) felt that the situation has gone from bad to worse in NDA. “An atmosphere was being created where one personality was being given more importance. When some BJP leaders spoke to us on the issue they were unable to give us an assurance on the prime ministerial candidate,” Nitish said.
When reminded that his party had remained in the NDA even after 2002 Gujarat riots, the JD(U) leader justified it by saying that it was a tactical understanding with the BJP. However, he made it a point to clarify that his party never supported Hindutva politics or forego secular values.
The Bihar Chief Minister hit out at the BJP for portraying a polarising picture by projecting one individual. Though it was obvious that he was being critical of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Nitish didn’t take his name even once during the hour-long interview.
“We have taken the right decision at the right time and we read the writing on the wall and thus walked away of the alliance with BJP,” Nitish said when asked why did he walk out of the alliance now when his party had recently said that it would take the final decision after BJP announces its PM candidate for 2014 elections.
Nitish said that there is a need for a uniting personality and a divisive personality could not rule the country.
He was also critical of Gujarat development’s model and said that a single model cannot work in a country as diversified as India.
He also rejected BJP’s contention that he is playing opportunistic politics.
When asked whether Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani are secular, the JD(U) leader said that Atalji was a great leader and took everyone along with him. On Advani, Nitish said when the senior BJP leader visited Pakistan and spoke about Jinnah “we supported his secular motives but his own party didn’t”.
These talks are a thing of past, Nitish said when asked whether JD(U) will review its decision if BJP projects Advani as its prime ministerial candidate.
When pressed to air his opinion on the issue, Nitish said secularism means that there should be no tilt towards any particular community and an environment should be created where people feel it is their own land. The Bihar CM went on to say that backward communities should be given special status so that they can be a part of the main stream.
Replying to a question regarding reports on JD(U)’s possible alliance with the Congress, especially after the ruling party at the Centre voted in JD(U)’s favour, Kumar said there was no deal with the Congress and pointed out that that even the CPI had voted in the government’s favour .
Nitish also rejected suggestions that he had any ambition to become the prime minister.
Rejecting any political deal with the Centre over the issue of special status for Bihar, the CM said that his party has fought a long battle for special status and there is no political deal. He further said that every backward state should be given special status by the Centre.
On the question of joining a Federal Front proposed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the JD(U) leader turned evasive and skirted the question by saying that it is too early to speak on the particular issue. However, the Bihar CM added that he cannot formally say yes or no at present.
When asked which party – the Congress or the BJP - is the number one enemy of JD(U), Nitish gave a smart reply: “We are political activist, not analyst.”