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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Nitish should have quitted NDA 15 yrs ago: Azad

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, June 17, 2013
First Published: 18:24 IST(17/6/2013) | Last Updated: 18:30 IST(17/6/2013)

Union health minister and of Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday welcomed Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's decision to quit NDA.

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Speaking to media on the sidelines of an official function in Srinagar, Azad called Nitish Kumar, a secular leader who should have taken the decision to part ways with the BJP long time ago. "It is a welcome decision and should have happened 15 years ago," said Azad.

"I have known Nitishji for a long time now and know that he has always been a very secular person. Even Sharad Yadav ji is a secular person. I don't know in what circumstances Nitishji joined hands with the BJP but that is past," he added.

Azad, however, refused to comment on whether the Congress will form an alliance with the JDU. "It's too early to comment on the issue. We will see how things turn around," he added.

"But what we have been witnessing is that there is going to be a complete polarisation of parties on the secular lines - soon there will be two parties a secular front led by the Congress and a non-secular front led by the BJP, so people will have to choose,'' Azad said.
Azad also ruled out the possibility of a strong third front. "It will not last more than two years. People do not want uncertainty. It has happened in the past so nobody will repeat the mistake again," he added.

Reacting to JDU leader Sharad Yadav's statement that the JDU can consider coming back to the NDA without Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. "I don't think the BJP will come back to the JDU after break up," he added.

Azad called Modi more a threat to the BJP than the Congress. "Modi's inclusion led to the break up of the BJP and strengthening of the Congress," he said.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah had on Sunday expressed the same sentiments. "We were able to tie up with the NDA as it was headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Parties like mine would never even dream of going in an alliance where the Modi is in the forefront," Omar said.

" The BJP needs to figure out whether Narendra Modi can deliver as many seats as NDA seems to be loosing with key partners leaving the alliance," he added.


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