Nitish Kumar clarifies on skipping INDIA meeting, says will attend next meeting
Nitish Kumar’s statement on attending the INDIA meeting came a day after senior Bihar minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary blamed the Congress for ignoring regional parties
Amid speculation of his distancing from the INDIA bloc, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was instrumental behind the formation of the anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bloc earlier this year, clarified that he would be attending the next meeting of the newly-formed alliance, scheduled for December 17.
Citing his ill-health, Kumar rubbished media claims that he had distanced himself from the meeting. “I want that work to progress. It was said in the news that I won’t attend the meeting. This is nonsense, I was down with fever at that time. It was not possible to attend the meeting. In the next meeting of the alliance, we should chalk out a plan for the future,” said Kumar, on the sidelines of a function in state capital Patna.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had called a meeting of the INDIA bloc leaders for Wednesday. Key opposition leaders including Nitish Kumar, Mamata Bannerjee, M K Stalin and Akhilesh Yadav decided to skip the meeting and the India bloc huddle was postponed to the third week of December.
The Bihar CM reiterated that he was not in race for any post in the INDIA bloc. “There is speculation in the media, but I am not in the race for any post in INDIA bloc. I have no personal interest. We all want to be united like in the freedom struggle and no one should forget the freedom struggle that was fought together and the future generation should remember it,” he said.
“In the next meeting I will tell them not to delay the things any further and speed up the matter,” he added, in an oblique reference to seat-sharing issues.
He said that Bihar had conducted the caste census to understand the status of the poor for special status for the state. “Whatever is suitable in the interest of our state, we are doing. That is why we did a caste census to understand the status of the poor so we are demanding a special status for Bihar,” said Kumar.
Kumar’s statement on attending the INDIA meeting came a day after senior Bihar minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary blamed the Congress for ignoring regional parties. He also said there was not much time left and the Congress should learn from the debacle in three states.
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) general secretary KC Tyagi pitched for the “Nitish model of giving everyone a level-playing field”. Tyagi said the Nitish model will also keep the doors open for parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the YSR Congress for post-poll alliances.
Kumar, who resumed his work on Tuesday by attending the state cabinet meeting, on Wednesday reacted to election results on Wednesday and said that Congress had earlier won in these states. “These things happen. Congress got a good vote, but the BJP won. In Telangana, Congress won. Congratulations to all. These things do not need discussion. I only wish that opposition unites quickly,” said Kumar.