Sending a clear signal that he sees a role for himself in rallying parties opposed to the BJP, JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Saturday said “all non-BJP parties will have to come together if we have to defeat them” because “separate contests will not work” in the next Lok Sabha elections.
This is a departure from what he said two days ago — that the BJP will not make it in the next Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking at the Advantage Conclave 2016 in Patna, Nitish Kumar attacked the RSS: “Aaj jo bhagwa jhanda fahrate hain, tirange ki baat karte hain (those who unfurl the saffron flag now talk about the Tricolour).”
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Referring to the issue of chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, he said: “I want to know just what was the contribution of the Sangh in the freedom struggle of the country. It is unnecessarily engaging in debates on nationalism and slogans.”
Claiming “democracy is in danger”, he urged parties to join hands: “Loktantra khatre mein hai, sabhi gair BJP parties ko ek saath aana hoga unhe harane ke liye. Alag alag ladne se baat nahi banegi… Lohia had made a non-Congress platform, now all parties have to unite against the BJP.”
“The three stalwarts of the BJP — Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi — have been sidelined within the party and power has gone to people who have no faith in secularism and communal harmony,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in mind, Nitish said, “I am not against any individual though”. They have not been on the best of terms, targeting each other regularly in the bitter run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the 2015 Bihar assembly elections.
Recalling his poll promise of imposing prohibition in Bihar, he took a swipe at Modi without naming him: “So many promises were made during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Was black money brought back? Did a poor man get Rs 15 lakh in his bank account? People also tried to mock the seven resolutions I made during the 2015 assembly poll campaign. But I have fulfilled the first big promise by enforcing a total ban on liquor in Bihar. One by one, I will fulfil the rest.”
On his resolve to bring in prohibition, Nitish said (former chief minister) Karpoori Thakur too had enforced such a ban but it was lifted later. “We studied various aspects and tried to address each aspect in the amended liquor law. Now, we are getting reports of a drop in incidents of domestic violence in villages. Husbands, who would earlier remain drunk, are assisting their wives in the kitchen,” he said.