Nitish Says Would ‘Prefer to die’ Rather Than Realign With BJP
Image Courtesy: PTI
Patna: In a strong reply to the BJP, Bihar chief minister (CM) Nitish Kumar has said that he “would prefer to die” rather than realign with the party and accused his former ally of lodging cases against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav “deliberately without basis”.
Kumar’s statement came a day after state BJP leaders ruled out the possibility of an alliance with his JD(U) ahead of the 2024 general election or the 2025 Bihar Assembly polls and accused him of “abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trust”.
Ending days of speculation that surfaced following reports of a growing rift in the ruling grand coalition in Bihar, the CM, with Yadav beside him, told reporters in Patna that he “would prefer to die rather than join hands with the BJP”. “The question does not arise.”
This was probably the first time after dumping the BJP and joining hands with the RJD, Congress and Left parties to form the ruling coalition last August, Kumar cleared his stand. “The BJP will get a taste of the ground reality in the coming elections,” he said.
Admitting that he had worked with the party earlier, but it was a “different BJP with leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani”, Kumar said “The BJP has changed and it is no more a party with difference.”
Kumar pointed out that the fresh cases against RJD’s ailing chief and former CM Lalu Prasad Yadav were “framed as his party joined hands with him, which led to the BJP’s ouster from power in Bihar”.
“Listen carefully. They (BJP) went through so much effort. They slapped cases against Tejashwi and his father to get me on board. Now again, they are trying to get after them. These people keep doing such things,” he added.
Kumar has been talking about non-BJP opposition unity ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha election. He said earlier that he would start a countrywide march to unite the Opposition against the BJP after the Assembly’s Budget Session next month.
On Sunday, the state BJP executive passed a resolution declaring that the party would never align with the JD(U). Senior BJP leader and Kumar’s former deputy Sushil Kumar Modi has described him as a “liability in state politics”.
State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal said that Kumar “oscillates like a pendulum. But we are not going to be cheated by him again”.
It was seen as a BJP move to challenge the coalition in the state on its own. The party, which has already announced to work on the ‘Mission 2024’ campaign, has blamed Kumar for “poor governance and law and order”.
The BJP’s actions can be seen in the context of Kumar’s party projecting him as the PM candidate of the ‘united’ Opposition in the 2024 election against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The BJP’s top leadership, including Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, are reportedly worried about facing the next elections alone in Bihar because the party has been left with only Union Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras’ Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party, which has no MLA, as an ally.
After an hour following Kumar’s remark, the BJP reminded him of making “similar statements in the past but later joining the BJP in the state”.
“No one believes Kumar. He has the least credibility. Who is going to take him seriously?” state Opposition leader Vijay Kumar Sinha told the media.
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