JDU chief reiterates support for UPA’s VP nominee Gopal Krishna Gandhi
Patna: Five days after forming a government with BJP support, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said there was no one who could compete with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He added that his role in national politics was limited to staying as the CM of a big state. “Koi dusara k abij nahi ho sakta. Modiji ka mukabla karne ki kshamta kisi mein nahin hai (there is no one who can compete with Modiji),” Kumar said when asked about PM Modi’s second term after the 2019 polls. Highlighting his secular credentials, Kumar recalled how he reopened Bhagalpur riot cases and referred to the various works done by his government for minorities in past.“Ineednocertificateofsecularism from anybody,” he said. Kumar, however, r eit er at e d his backing for UPA’s vice-presidential nominee Gopal Krishna Gandhi on the ground that he had already made a commitment. He hinted that JDU’s executive committee meeting, to be held on August 19, might formally approve JDU’s new status as an ally of NDA. Hurt by Lalu Prasad’s personal attacks, Kumar questioned the RJD chief’s vote-transfer capabilities during the 2015 assembly polls. He (Lalu) arrogantly says he made me the CM... The people of Bihar showed him his worth in 2010 (when RJD’s strength was reduced to 22),” he said, claiming JDU was able to transfer its share of vote to RJD candidates more successfully. Targeting Congress veep Rahul Gandhi for claiming he had an inkling for the last three months that Kumar would walk out of the coalition, the Bihar chief minister said: “Then why did he (Gandhi) meet me when I had gone to Del hi a nd sought his intervention...to ask RJD to come clean on the accusations?”
At his first press conference after joining hands with BJP, Kumar recalled the backing he extended to Lalu Prasad during the Patna University’s student politics in their college days, his efforts towardshelpingPrasadbecomeleader of then Lok Dal after the death of former CM Karpoori Thakur and the difficulties he faced in running the grand alliance government. He also recalled his political career as an MLA, MP, Union minister and then the Bihar chief minister.
Nitish added his role in national politics is limited to staying as the CM of a big state