Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said he was “surprised” by a media report suggesting that his support for the women’s reservation bill indicated his growing proximity to the Congress and that the Janata Dal (United) was on the verge of a split.
He said there was no question of his quitting the National Democratic Alliance but he could not stop anyone from speculating. “There is simply no rhyme or reason, no cause or excuse (for leaving the NDA). The lid is shut. The alliance is firm,” he said.
The report was published in the wake of all five JD(U) members present in the Rajya Sabha voting in favour of the women’s bill on Tuesday.
“I ignore reports, which suggest that I am flirting with others and have stopped counting on my companions. But I can tell you, the JD(U) is not unfaithful. It’s a union of minds, not a marriage of convenience. But can I stop anybody from speculating?” he said.
Asked if the run-up to voting on the Bill suggested that he had more clout in the JD(U) that party president Sharad Yadav, the chief minister smiled. “In a party, everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion. I am not different because I happen to be the chief minister.”
On the UPA and the Congress in Bihar, he said, “There is no resurgence of the Congress in Bihar. It is visible only in the media. Some of their leaders come here and sermonise us but I do not have the time or inclination to counter whatever they say. It does not matter. In fact, I ignore their activities. You just wait and watch. After some time, the tamasha will be over and fatigue will overtake the UPA. Then come and pose the same question to me and I’ll answer.”