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‘No alliance is in winning position’

india Updated: Mar 30, 2009 23:57 IST
Atul Rai Krishna

It is only the alliances that are formed after the polls that will determine which grouping ends up ruling the country, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tells Atul Rai Krishna.

How would you compare poll prospects of the NDA, UPA and Third Front?

The UPA has already collapsed in Bihar. It is disintegrating at the national level too. The Third Front faces difficulties in Kerala and West Bengal. The NDA has pluses and minuses. If Naveen Patnaik is gone in Orissa, AGP has come to us in Assam. So is it with Ajit Singh in UP and INLD in Haryana.

You sound diffident about the NDA poll prospects?

Despite improving its position in Assam, UP and Haryana, the NDA will need more allies in several other states. I don't want to make tall claims. No formation is in a clear winning position, most certainly not the UPA.

Congress leader M Verappa Moily has hinted at a pact with JD(U)

I give no importance to such statements. I had merely expressed the JD(U) stand against use of provocative language during the elections. The rest is Congress’s conjecture.

Lalu, Paswan, Mayawati and Pawar have made no secret of their desire to become PM. How about Nitish, twice voted best CM?

I don’t think about it even in my dreams. I realise the limitations of my party. Bihar has only 40 seats. We don’t have the numbers to make a bid for prime ministership.

Your stand on Varun Gandhi has again underlined the JD(U)’s ideological hiatus with the BJP.

We are two different parties, which have come together on a common agenda for governance. We are running a great government together in the state. This is more important than what happens outside Bihar. Common views are not possible on every issue.

Is the NDA missing Atal Behari Vajpayee’s presence in this election?

It is natural. But it is also a fact that his health does not permit him to campaign.

There is a view that out of respect for his age George Fernandes could have been renominated from Muzaffarpur.

It is only out of respect for George Sahab's age and seniority that we offered to send him to the Rajya Sabha at the first opportunity. What crime have the people of Muzaffarpur committed that they should have an MP with whom they cannot even communicate most times because he is so ill?