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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

I do not even dream of becoming Prime Minister: Nitish

PTI  Patna, December 17, 2012
First Published: 20:36 IST(17/12/2012) | Last Updated: 20:49 IST(17/12/2012)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday endorsed BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad's view that the nominee for the prime minister's post should be from the major party within NDA and said he did not even dream of the office.

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"I myself have been saying the same thing for long .... Ravishankar Prasad has said the same thing," Kumar told reporters when asked to comment on the Rajya Sabha leader statement on the candidate for the PM post.

Kumar, under whose leadership NDA won 33 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and confined RJD to merely four in the last General elections, said he had been repeatedly saying that "PM candidate should be from the largest party of the alliance."

The chief minister said he was happy working for the people of Bihar and did not dream of becoming PM.

When told that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, considered a strong contender for the PM post from NDA, also said that he was happy working for the state, Kumar refused to comment.

He disagreed with the comments of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit that Rs. 600, to be given under cash subsidy transfer scheme, were sufficient to feed five members of a family in a month.

"It is impossible to feed five members of a family in Rs. 600 a month that will come down to Rs. 4 per person daily," he said after attending the "Janata Ke Darbar me Mukhya Mantri" programme here.

He backed cash transfer, but said the scheme claimed by the UPA as "game-changer" in 2014 polls would succeed only when beneficiaries were correctly identified by constituting an independent BPL Commission.

Asked to comment on Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi's view that cash subsidy would help the UPA government in the 2014 General elections, Kumar said only time would prove it.

Kumar pointed out major gaps in the Centre's count of BPL beneficiaries in Bihar and elsewhere which was a major hurdle in implementation of subsidised foodgrains scheme through PDS.

"In Bihar while the Centre provides subsidised foodgrains for about 72 lakh BPL beneficiaries, the actual count as conducted by the state government by adopting the central criterion comes to 1.40 crore," he said to drive home his point.

Picking holes in the cash subsidy scheme, Kumar said it recommended purchase of uniform for school children through a committee which would be a major problem in Bihar as the state government was successfully providing direct cash for the purpose.

"I have pointed it out to the PM and shall raise it prominently in the coming meeting of NDC (National Development Council)," he said.

He took exception to the Industry and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma ruling out special category status to Bihar and said he had written to the Prime Minister directly contesting the argument of the Inter-Ministerial Group constituted by him on the issue and did not give much credence to what Sharma said.

"I have not put this demand to the Industries minister so what he says does not make much difference," he said.

Kumar said he would mobilise support of other states which fell short in major developmental indices as compared to national average for strategic plan for them.

He, however, ruled out forming any front (of such states) for this purpose.


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