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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Signs of thaw in GA; Nitish says he is committed to Bihar mandate

Amid differences with the RJD and Congress, over his decision to back NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, chief minister Nitish Kumar, on Wednesday, reiterated his commitment to serve the people of Bihar.

patna Updated: Jun 29, 2017 18:32 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
Chief minister Nitish Kumar speaking at an Eid Milan function in Patna on Wednesday.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar speaking at an Eid Milan function in Patna on Wednesday. (Santosh/HT photo)

PATNA Chief minister Nitish Kumar, on Wednesday, sought to shift public attention from talks of growing differences in the ruling Grand Alliance (GA) in Bihar, over the question of which presidential nominee to support, by reiterating his commitment to serving the people of the state.

“Despite all the troubles, I will not back out from the promise of serving the people of Bihar,” Kumar said, at an Eid Milan programme organised by Jamait I Hind at the Anjuman Islamia Hall on Ashok Rajpath, in the state capital on Wednesday.

He went on to add that he has taken up the task of reforming the society and this could not be completed without the support of people.

Kumar’s statement came at a time when Bihar’s ruling grand alliance partners – the JD (U) and the RJD – have been targeting each other. Signs of an imminent crisis surfaced after the third alliance partner, the Congress, joined the debate and targeted Kumar for his ‘wavering’ stand on whom to back in the presidential poll.

Kumar’s statement about his commitment to the people of Bihar seen as an indication of his desire to put a stop to the war of words with the RJD and, as such, indicative of a ‘thaw’ in the ties of the two allies which had become turbulent after Kumar extended his support to NDA presidential candidate, Bihar ex-governor Ram Nath Kovind.

For one thing, Kumar’s statement appeared meant to send a signal to GA parties that things were under control. For another, it seemed meant to convey to the people of the state that his government was here to last its full term of five years.

The opposition has fielded former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as its presidential candidate, while Kumar has supported NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. This has prompted strong reactions, including from Lalu Prasad’s son and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav.

Taken aback over the manner in which Bihar chief minister was targeted from all corners, JD (U) general secretary KC Tyagi, on Tuesday, hinted that the days of the ruling grand alliance in Bihar may be numbered and said chief minister Nitish Kumar was much more comfortable when his party, the JD-U, was an NDA constituent.

He said that JD (U) was not a part of the UPA and Congress and the Mahagathbandhan was meant only for Bihar.

“So, it’s clear that my party is free to take any decision at the national level,” he said. He also warned the alliance partners, RJD and Congress, to desist from criticising Nitish, as his party won’t tolerate it.

The signs of a thaw, came on Wednesday morning after Tyagi retracted from his statement and went on to say that the alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) would be be there till 2020 and the difference of opinion on the between the two parties over which presidential nominee to back, would not affect their relationship.

“Our alliance in Bihar is strong. We have different views over the presidential poll, but it has nothing to do with the alliance or the government,” he told a news agency.

First Published: Jun 28, 2017 19:56 IST

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