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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Supported Nitish to keep communal BJP at bay: Congress

IANS  New Delhi, June 19, 2013
First Published: 20:02 IST(19/6/2013) | Last Updated: 20:06 IST(19/6/2013)

The Congress on Wednesday said it supported the Janata Dal (United) government in Bihar to "keep communal BJP at bay", and endorsed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's view that chief minister Nitish Kumar was a secular person.

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"We supported the JD(U) government without any condition. We wanted to keep the communal forces at bay. The BJP wanted to defeat the government," Congress spokesperson PC Chacko told reporters.

"We endorse the prime minister's view that Nitish is a secular person," he said.

According to the Congress, which is exploring an alliance with the JD(U) in Bihar ahead of the 2014 general elections, the decision to support the Nitish Kumar government was "unilateral".

"We do not expect anything in return," Chacko said.

But the Congress took care not to annoy Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, an arch rival of Nitish Kumar, saying he was an ally.

"The RJD is with Congress. We have an alliance with it," said Chancko.

Asked on the RJD's decision to oppose the Nitish Kumar government, Chacko said: "Any party was free to take its decision."

Downplaying any possibilities of an electoral alliance with the JD(U) in the coming months, the Congress spokesperson said "this was an isolated case" and "not a prelude to any future alliance".

After the JD(U) parted ways with the BJP over elevation of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the chief of the party's poll campaign, the Nitish Kumar government won a trust vote in the Bihar assembly on Wednesday.

Earlier, Nitish Kumar thanked the prime minister for calling him a secular person, but said it was only a matter of courtesy.

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