At Karpoori Thakur event, Nitish Kumar’s curious barb over dynastic politics - Hindustan Times
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At Karpoori Thakur event, Nitish Kumar’s curious barb over dynastic politics

Jan 24, 2024 10:14 PM IST

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said he, inspired by his mentor Karpoori Thakur, had “never sought to promote any of my family members”

PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took a swipe at dynastic politics being pursued by “many leaders today” and said he has never promoted any member of his family drawing inspiration from his mentor and socialist icon Karpoori Thakur.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar addressed Jannayak Karpoori Thakur Janm Shatabdi Samaroh in Patna on Wednesday. (HT Photo/Santosh Kumar)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar addressed Jannayak Karpoori Thakur Janm Shatabdi Samaroh in Patna on Wednesday. (HT Photo/Santosh Kumar)

Addressing a rally organised by his Janata Dal (United) in Patna to mark the centenary birth anniversary of late Karpoori Thakur, hailed as “Jannayak” in Bihar, Kumar thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union government for conferring the country’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, on the socialist leader and former two-term chief minister.

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The Centre had announced on Tuesday that the legendary OBC leader from Bihar would be conferred Bharat Ratna posthumously.

Also Read: Caste survey forced Centre to confer Bharat Ratna on Karpoori Thakur, says Tejashwi Yadav

“Karpoori Thakur was the biggest socialist leader of Bihar. You all should remember that among other things, Karpoori Thakur will be remembered for never using his clout to promote his family. He always thought about the common people of Bihar and the country, a marked contrast from many leaders today who promote only their family members,” Kumar said. “I have drawn inspiration from him. You all know that I have never sought to promote any of my family members.”

The reference to dynastic politics comes amid reports of growing fissures within the opposition INDIA bloc. Though no member of Kumar’s family is in politics, his party is a key constituent of the INDIA bloc, whose several partners are often targeted by political rivals for representing “dynastic politics”.

Also Read: Terms of Trade | The story of two betrayed revolutions in Bihar

Addressing the rally, which was also seen as JD(U)’s show of strength ahead of the crucial general elections, Kumar said the Centre’s decision to confer the highest civilian award on the late socialist icon was “a proof of the realisation that you cannot go far without respecting his contribution.”

The JD(U) leader said before attending the rally, he visited Karpoori’s ancestral village in Samastipur district as he has done over the years on his birth anniversary, and met the late leader’s family, including son Ramnath Thakur, who is the party’s national general secretary and a member of Rajya Sabha.

“I was told by Ramnath Thakur [who shared the dais with Kumar] that the prime minister had called him up after the announcement (of Bharat Ratna). The PM has not called me so far. It is possible that he may claim full credit for the move,” Kumar said. “Nonetheless, I thank the PM and his government through the media persons for fulfilling a demand I have been raising since I assumed power in Bihar.”

The chief minister stressed he had been demanding Bharat Ratna for Karpoori Thakur since 2007. “I have been raising the demand from every government, including the previous Congress government...”

Kumar said the Centre should also fulfil other demands raised by his government, including according the “special status” to Bihar.

Reacting to Kumar’s dig at dynastic politics, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Samrat Chowdhary said, “It is up to Kumar to think over it. Afterall, it is he who has made him (Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Yadav) the deputy chief minister.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vijay is chief of bureau, Patna. He has spent 21 years in journalism and covers political beats and public affairs.

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