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  India   Politics  01 Aug 2017  No one can challenge Modi in 2019, says Nitish Kumar

No one can challenge Modi in 2019, says Nitish Kumar

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Aug 1, 2017, 5:35 am IST
Updated : Aug 1, 2017, 5:35 am IST

Nitish said that he had no option but to walk out of the Grand Secular Alliance as remaining in it would have meant making his peace with corruption.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference in Patna. (Photo: PTI)
 Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing a press conference in Patna. (Photo: PTI)

Patna/New Delhi: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who in one deft move last week severed ties with the Grand Alliance in Bihar and with the Opposition’s dreams of a secular, united front to battle the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, made it clear on Monday that for now political advantage lies in aligning with Narendra Modi.

“There is no political party or a leader who has the ability to compete with Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the Bihar chief minister said during a press conference in Patna on Monday.

On July 27, Nitish Kumar resigned as Bihar chief minister over corruption charges against Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejashwi Yadav, who was the deputy chief minister.

Minutes after his resignation, PM Modi had tweeted his congratulations to the Bihar CM for “joining the fight against corruption.” Nitish Kumar tweeted back, thanking the PM for his support. The next day Nitish Kumar accepted the BJP’s support to form a new alliance government in Bihar.

Speaking for the first time after he dumped the Mahagathbandhan comprising the RJD and the Congress, along with the JD(U), Nitish Kumar said that he had no option but to walk out of the Grand Secular Alliance as remaining in it would have meant making his peace with corruption. He said that he tried to save the alliance, but Lalu Yadav and his son repeatedly refused to come clean on the corruption charges levelled against them.

“People had started raising questions on the zero-tolerance policy of the state government after the CBI filed a corruption case against the family, including Tejashwi Yadav. I just asked them to give a public clarification but the whole family kept dodging the issue,” Nitish Kumar said.
 
Reacting sharply to former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s opposition to his decision to form an alliance with the NDA, he said, “Everyone has a different opinion in democracy… The decision to form an alliance with NDA was taken by the state unit of the party in the interest of Bihar.”

The party will discuss the issue during the national executive meeting on August 19 in Patna, he added.
 
On Monday, Sharad Yadav told reporters outside Parliament, “I don’t agree with the decision in Bihar. It is unfortunate. The mandate of the people (in Bihar in 2015) was not for this”.
 
On the issue of secularism, Mr Kumar said that he doesn’t need a certificate from any political party or leaders on the issue. He said that “some political parties have been using secularism to cover their black money and benami properties”.
 
Nitish Kumar, who has nurtured dreams of a national role, on Monday ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race. “Mine is a regional party and is confined to Bihar… as far as my national ambition is concerned, I have already held several key portfolios when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister,” he said.
 
In 2013, Nitish Kumar had snapped ties with the BJP after Mr Modi was nominated as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate. During the formation of the Grand Secular Alliance in 2015, Mr Kumar said that he had joined hands with secular parties like the RJD and Congress to fight the communal forces.

“I will prove all the critics wrong with my work and the performance of the government,” he said on Monday, in response to criticism over his decision to align with the BJP.
 
The RJD, meanwhile, continued its tirade against the chief minister, calling on him to resign until an alleged murder case against him is completed.

Tags: nitish kumar, 2019 lok sabha elections, narendra modi
Location: India, Bihar, Patna