Maintaining that the ruling JD(U) has not taken a decision to project national president and chief minister Nitish Kumar as the prime ministerial candidate, party general secretary KC Tyagi on Thursday also dismissed the formation of a ‘Third Front’ — an idea floated by RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
“Anything like a Third Front is neither at discussion level in the party forum nor is it in the mind of the party’s leadership,” Tyagi said after a meeting of party office-bearers at the residence of the chief minister. In a lighter vein, he added, “We are trying for first front.”
Clearing the air on Kumar, Tyagi said the party never projected him as the PM candidate. “The party has neither taken a decision nor passed any resolution to project him as prime ministerial candidate,” he said.
He, however, conceded that the party had little say in preventing leaders such as Lalu Prasad, Sharad Pawar and Babulal Marandi from expressing their views on the Bihar chief minister’s ability to fit the bill for the top post.
Tyagi said, “If former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi found some prime minister material in Nitish Kumar, I cannot agree more. If leaders like Charan Singh, VP Singh, HD Deve Gowda, IK Gujral and Chandrashekhar hailing from the Janata Parivar can become PM, others can too. So what is surprising in it?”
As for the rumblings over the increase in the frequency of Kumar’s visit to some states after taking over as JD(U) national president, Tyagi said, “Nobody, particularly the media, should find anything unusual in holding meetings in Kerala or Gujarat where we have legislators. It helps in raising morale of the workers.”
He said the party has decided to launch a membership drive from June 5 to expand its footprint in the country, with special focus on UP, Manipur and Jharkhand under the overall charge of general secretary Arun Srivastava.
“An intensive membership drive will be undertaken in UP that is going to polls early next year to expand base there. A workers’ conference has been finalised in Mirzapur on June 18,” Tyagi said.
He said the office bearers of Kisan Manch, which was launched by former prime minister VP Singh, too have joined JD(U).