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Gujarat elections: BJP on course for a comfortable win, says Nitish

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar predicted a comfortable win for the BJP in the Gujarat assembly election.

assembly elections Updated: Nov 13, 2017 18:20 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Gujarat elections,Gujarat elections 2017,Gujarat assembly elections 2017
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar says the Gujarat election is not a semi-final for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. (AP Dube / HT Photo )

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday there was no threat to the BJP in the Gujarat assembly polls and predicted that the party was set for a comfortable win in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

“I am clearly seeing what is going to happen in Gujarat, just like my assessment for the UP assembly polls earlier this year. It is my personal understanding that there will be no hiccups for the BJP in Gujarat,” Kumar said, while responding to media queries on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s emergence as a challenger.

Speaking after his weekly Lok Samvad (public interaction programme), the chief minister said that before arriving at any conclusion, one has to recognise “public sentiment”.

“Will the people of the state, which has an incumbent Prime Minister, go on to vote against his party?” he asked.

As for the recent spike in Rahul Gandhi’s graph, Kumar said there was absolutely no threat to the BJP.

“The BJP will win comfortably. Wait till the elections are over. Then we will see what you have to say,” he said, taking an apparent dig at the media’s role in propping up and pulling down political leaders.

During his first media interaction on July31 after patching up with the BJP to form a new government, sans RJD and Congress in Bihar, Kumar had earlier predicted that Modi’s re-election in 2019 was inevitable as there was “no challenger” who could measure up to the Prime Minister.

Kumar also refused to accept that the Gujarat election was a semi-final for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, saying, “Today, elections are taking place in one or two states every year. It is just that lot of debate is taking place due to the media’s reach.”

Kumar also differed with Farooq Abdullah over his statement that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir should remain with Pakistan and said, “While everybody is free to have their view in a democracy, I believe Kashmir is an integral part of India and our stand on PoK remains unchanged.”

Maintaining that the stand of his party on Article 370, uniform civil code and Ram Janmabhoomi remained unchanged, Kumar said he had discussed the issue of gaurakshaks (cow vigilantes) with Modi, who was also of the view that they should be dealt with strictly.

“We have asked home secretary and the DGP to initiate stern action against those taking law into their own hands,” he said.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 18:19 IST