Wednesday, October 5, 2022

‘Anybody can be PM’, Nitish Kumar not in race, says his party leader

If the opposition defeats the BJP in 2024 then “anybody can become Prime Minister”, a leader of Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal United said today, reasserting that Nitish Kumar is not in the race.
“We don’t see him as Prime Minister,” said JDU chief Lalan Singh, a day after Tejashwi Yadav, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, called Nitish Kumar a “strong candidate” for the PM’s post in 2024.
“We have repeatedly said this, as has Nitish Kumar himself, that he is not a candidate for PM. But yes, he has all the qualities of a Prime Minister,” he said.
Lalan Singh, who is a close aide of the Chief Minister, said it was important to focus on opposition unity rather than who will be Prime Minister. “We believe Nitish Kumar should work to unite all opposition parties to take on the BJP. If the BJP is defeated, then anyone can become PM,” said the JDU national president.
Asked to comment on Tejashwi Yadav’s remarks, Singh said: “I agree, Nitish Kumar is PM-material, but he is not a Prime Minister candidate.”
Tejashwi Yadav, in an interview to news agency PTI, said he believed Nitish Kumar is a strong candidate for PM with his vast experience and goodwill.
“I cannot claim to speak on behalf of the entire Opposition, however, if considered, respected Nitish ji definitely might be a strong candidate. He (Kumar) has more than 37 years of vast parliamentary and administrative experience and enjoys immense goodwill on the ground as well as among his peers,” the RJD leader said. Kumar had earlier dismissed talk about his prime ministerial ambitions. “I say this with folded hands, I have no such thoughts…My work is to work for everyone. I will make an effort to see that all opposition parties work together,” he had told news agency ANI.
He made the comments after he ended his alliance with the BJP and formed a new government with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD and other opposition parties. Tejashwi Yadav was sworn in as his Deputy. Nitish Kumar’s break-up with the BJP and “return” to the opposition fold had revived talk about him as a consensus candidate for the 2024 general election.
A smarting BJP has accused Nitish Kumar of betrayal. Union Minister Giriraj Singh of the BJP scoffed: “He was Chief Minister all these years but took oath eight times and couldn’t form a government on his own even once. He’s not even Chief Minister material, how can he be PM material?”