'I prefer Nitish as NDA candidate for CM in Bihar' | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

'I prefer Nitish as NDA candidate for CM in Bihar'

PTI | BySanjay Kumar, New Delhi
Dec 14, 2004 07:47 PM IST

Talking to Sanjay Kumar, former Union Civil Aviation Minister says Nitish will be the NDA candidate for CM in Bihar.

In the changed scenario - when you have lost the Chhapra seat and Lalu Prasad Yadav has decided to retain it - what is going to be your next move?
I have been elected from Chhapra earlier also. I have won from Chhapra twice and lost once. When I contested this election the situation of the country had changed. The new government at the Centre was already in place and Lalu had become the Union Railway Minister. That went against me, but I did give a good fight. I secured 1, 62,000 votes and Lalu 2, 22,000.

It came as a surprise to me when Lalu retained the Chhapra seat. It is a very good situation for this constituency. Lalu is the Railway Minister and his wife Rabri Devi is the Chief Minister of the state. There cannot be a better situation for Chhapra than what it is today.

Are you going to change your constituency in the next parliamentary election?
No, never. I will continue to work with the same speed in my constituency and prepare myself for the next election. I am working with my party workers in the constituency to boost their morale.

Two months is hardly a time to judge Lalu's performance. But if he does not deliver, I will not leave a single stone unturned to expose him.

What according to you were the reasons for your defeat against Lalu Prasad Yadav?
As I told earlier, elections to the Chhapra parliamentary constituency was held one month after the other elections (the first one being countermanded due to rigging and violence). By the time the second election was held Lalu Prasad had already become the Railway Minister. With the zonal headquarter of Railways at Hajipur and the divisional headquarter at Sonepur the Railways has a major influence in my constituency.

But the caste combination was in your favour !
No, I don't agree with you. The caste combination is still strikingly in favour of RJD. The Yadavs are 3.25 lakh; Muslims are around one lakh and Rajputs 2.75 lakh. Then other upper castes like Bhumihars and Brahmins are in less numbers. So Yadavs and Mulims combined do not put the combination in my favour.

You got less votes in Rajput dominated constituencies like Sonpur and Terriyan, which means even the Rajputs deserted you?
To say that Rajputs deserted me is not correct. Even Lalu Yadav got comparatively less votes in RJD stronghold like Persa and Chhapra assembly constituencies. Once you are able to stop both capturing and rigging the results are different.

Yes, I do agree with you that some Rajputs did get carried away with Lalu Prasad. 

It is said that you do not identify yourself with the voters?
No this is not true. When they do not find any fault in me they say I do not identify with the voters. I can't do Lalu Yadav brand of politics. I am systematic, organised and have my own way of dealing with the people of my constituency. I am not a typical brand of politician. I cannot chew paan and spit on the road. I cannot wear torn clothes. I cannot waste time doing gossip with people.

Had this been the case how could the people elected me MLA at the age of 26 and MP at the age of 33? I was elected twice as the Member of Parliament. People can make the mistake of electing me once or twice but not all the time.

But they din't elect you this time!
I know that and this happens in politics

You didn't do much for your constituency, isn't that true?
No, that is not true. What I did has not been done in the last 50 years. I did so much for the handicaps, provided ambulances to hospitals, and got constructed over bridges and highways, then the Rajdhani stoppage. I gave innovation to the state by introducing prone cultivation.

What else can you do when the state government do not cooperate you? The critics are those who wanted contracts. I cannot waste public money to please such elements.

What the BJP is doing at the national level to recover its lost ground?
We have lost the government; but the party and the cadres are the same. The BJP cannot be written off. The party is evaluating the reasons for the poor show and will rectify the shortcomings aggressively.

How do you foresee the prospect of the BJP in the coming Bihar assembly elections in the context of the rift within the NDA?
There can be ideological differences, but there is no rift within the NDA. We are fighting the elections jointly and will make government jointly, if voted to power.

Who is the NDA's chief ministerial candidate in Bihar?
Off course Nitish Kumar. He is going to be projected as the joint NDA candidate for the chief ministership of Bihar, unless there is a change in the official line. We are going to face the RJD in Bihar jointly in which Samata will get comparatively more seats, as it has happened in the past. But that does not mean that we won't be trying to improve the BJP's tally in Bihar.

Former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain had given a statement that Shatrughan Sinha will be joint NDA candidate for the post of chief minister in Bihar. Your comment.
That might be his personal opinion, but the official line is that Nitish Kumar will be the joint NDA candidate for chief minister in Bihar.

Shatrughan Sinha has his role to play. He had played very important role in previous elections and will continue to play. There is nothing against him.

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