BJP placates Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi says he will remain CM
A day after Nitish Kumar said he had no desire to remain Bihar chief minister and that his party JD(U)’s ally Bharatiya Janata Party could make its own CM, his former deputy Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP, struck a conciliatory note on Monday.
Modi said Kumar was reluctant to accept the state’s top post after the recent Assembly elections and relented only after all NDA constituents in the state requested him to lead the state.
“It is true that Nitish Kumar had shown reluctance to continue as chief minister after the Assembly polls and said the BJP should stake claim for the top post,” Modi, now a Rajya Sabha member, said.
Modi, who is known to have an excellent equation with Nitish Kumar, having worked as the CM’s deputy for long, was responding to queries on the sidelines of a function organised here on the birth anniversary of former Union minister Arun Jaitley.
Nitish Kumar, who was elected the NDA leader despite his party winning just 43 seats, had said at the JD (U) national executive meeting on Sunday that he was pressured to become the chief minister. “I didn’t have any intention to become the CM, but was pressured into accepting the post,” he had said.
“Whoever becomes the CM, it hardly affects me. I don’t have any urge to continue on this post. I wanted a BJP CM and am ready to cooperate,” he said.
Kumar’s statement, which came two days after six JD (U) MLAs defected to the ruling BJP in Arunachal Pradesh, points to a divide developing in the ruling alliance.
JD (U)’s national principal general secretary K C Tyagi also expressed anguish over repeated references to the chief minister continuing in his chair despite his party now having far fewer MLAs than the BJP.
He underscored that Kumar had initially expressed the opinion that the BJP, on account of its superior numerical strength, should have its own chief minister.
He also ruled out the possibility of deterioration in relations between the two parties following the en masse defection of JD(U) MLAs to BJP in Arunachal Pradesh.
Modi too expressed similar sentiments. “JD(U) itself has said that events taking place in another state will not affect the party’s tie-up with BJP in Bihar. I am confident that the NDA will rule Bihar for another five years, with Nitish Kumar at the helm, without any problem,” he said. “There is excellent coordination between the two parties.”
BJP’s spokesperson Nikhil Anand said that Kumar had been the leader of alliance since 2005 and taken Bihar on roads of development. “He was again elected leader by NDA legislators and we are sure that he will continue to take Bihar forward further,” he said.