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Nitish Kumar says Oppn needs alternative narrative to take on BJP

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar also ruled himself out as the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate for 2019.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2017 15:29 IST
HT Correspondent
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar speaking to media during Lok Samvad programme at 1 Anne Marg, in Patna on Monday.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar speaking to media during Lok Samvad programme at 1 Anne Marg, in Patna on Monday.(PTI)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said the Opposition needed an alternative narrative to take on the BJP, in what was seen as a veiled dig at alliance partner the Congress.

Kumar also ruled himself out as the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate for 2019, saying he was not eligible to run for the country’s top job. The remarks underline the challenge the opposition faces in uniting for the national election.

“Humne pehle bhi kaha hai ki Congress badi party hai, alternate narrative aur agenda set karna chahiye (I have already said the Congress is a big party and should set the agenda),” Kumar said.

Kumar had snapped ties with the BJP and walked out of the National Democratic Alliance after it declared Narendra Modi as it prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 election.

Kumar heads a ruling coalition of his Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in Bihar. But he recently broke ranks to back the NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

“Opposition needs an alternate narrative, just reactive narrative won’t work,” said Kumar, who was again asked by the Congress to reconsider support to Kovind for the July 17 presidential election.

On Sunday, he had hit back at the Congress for accusing him of harbouring many principles in backing Kovind. “It is you (not me), who is changing principles,” Kumar said, taking a dig senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for accusing him of harbouring many principles.

Read | Nitish Kumar, then Sharad Pawar: GST politics exposes cracks in Opposition unity

The Congress is also upset because he sent a minister to attend the midnight launch of the goods and services tax. The Congress and some other opposition parties stayed away from the ceremony.

“There was no invitation, so where is the question of attending or skipping,” said Kumar, whose relationship with the RJD too is testy.

(With agency inputs)