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Nitish Kumar was under huge pressure from Lalu Prasad, says minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy

Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to join hands with the BJP will transform Bihar, says Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2017 07:44 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar,Nitish Kumar,JD(U)-BJP
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with his new deputy, Shushil Kumar Modi of the BJP, at a ceremony to swear in his ministerial team in Patna on Saturday. (AP Dube / HT photo)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was under pressure from RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his decision to walk out of the grand alliance was a big step towards clean politics, Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy has said.

The senior BJP leader, who is a member of Parliament from Bihar’s Saran, said Kumar’s decision to go with the BJP was in people’s interest and Bihar would change for better.

“... This alliance should have taken place much earlier. With this decision, Bihar is heading towards big transformation,” the minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship said on Saturday, as Kumar picked a 27-member ministerial team in Bihar.

India’s third largest state was hit by a political earthquake on July 26 when Kumar resigned and ended his Janata Dal (United)’s two-year alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress over corruption charges against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD.

The 66-year-old returned as the chief minister within 18 hours but with a new partner, the BJP, the party he snapped ties with in 2013 for choosing Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate.

The RJD and Congress have accused Kumar of opportunism and betraying people’s mandate, which was against the BJP.

Kumar’s move not only altered the political landscape in the state but dealt a big blow to opposition parties’ efforts to forge a Bihar-like coalition to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

“I feel Nitish Kumar was under huge pressure from Lalu Prasad Yadav during the alliance, but now he is relieved and I think this decision is a big step in the direction of clean politics,” Rudy said.

The minister was speaking to media on the sidelines of the launch of a skill development programme initiated by CREDAI Pune Metro.

On Prasad’s allegations that the new alliance was fixed, Rudy criticised the RJD chief over his alleged involvement in various scams.

“He was found guilty in fodder scam and cannot contest elections... Now things are coming out that when he was the railway minister, he sold hotels and created shell companies in the name of his family members and now looking at the trail of all these scams, the amount of scam may go up to Rs 10,000 crore,” the minister said.

He was talking about the land-for-hotels scandal, the latest corruption charge to hit Prasad and his family. Prasad and his son, Tejashwi, are were early this month named in a case for allegedly acquiring wealth through dubious deals, including prime land in Patna as a quid pro quo for hotel maintenance contracts to private firms when the RJD chief was the rail minister. All of them deny the charges being investigated by the CBI.

In his speech, Rudy said the mindset of people in India had always been to make their children engineers or provide good education to them so that they could get better jobs.

“Post-independence, even at the government level, we have never focused on skill development. There are 18 lakh seats in engineering colleges across India, out of which eight lakh seats are empty. If we focus more on skill development, we can really become the leading country in providing the skilled workforce to the world,” he said.

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 10:08 IST