On Wednesday evening, soon after Nitish Kumar resigned as Bihar Chief Minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed his decision and congratulated him for “joining the fight against corruption”. Nitish responded by thanking him from the “bottom of my heart”.
In contrast, over the last four years, after snapping the 17-year-old ties between JD(U) and BJP, Nitish has often targeted the BJP and RSS, even calling for a “Sangh-Mukt Bharat”.
* Participating in a panel discussion to mark the launch of Fearless In Opposition, a collection of columns by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in The Indian Express published by Rupa, in New Delhi on February 10 this year, Nitish underlined that “maximum Opposition unity” was the need of the hour. Click here for Nitish Kumar swearing-in LIVE updates
Pointing at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, he said: “Why will they (BJP) set the agenda? Why doesn’t Rahulji set the agenda… Right now, the need of the nation is Opposition unity. The day this Opposition unity comes, you see what happens. There is nothing to fear. Everything will be all right. We should follow our agenda 90 per cent, and should react to the agenda of others only 10 per cent. We should move forward after setting our own agenda with maximum Opposition unity.”
* In May 2016, addressing a party rally in Varanasi, Modi’s parliamentary constituency, Nitish called for a “Sangh-Mukt Bharat” (RSS-free India) and “Sharab-Mukt Samaj” (liquor-free society). He made the same pitch at another rally in Musa Nagar in Uttar Pradesh in the first week of August last year. Read: Hours after PM tweets in praise, BJP and JD(U) join hands, swearing-in today. Click here
* Earlier too, while addressing the ‘Advantage Conclave’ in Patna on April 17 last year, Nitish said all parties would have to join hands to ensure a “Sangh-Mukt Bharat”. “Ab aisi paristhiti me, aaj seedhe do dhuree hogi. BJP ek taraf hai, aur doosri taraf sab logon ko milna padega, warna alag-alag rahenge to alag-alag yeh sabka bura haal kar denge. Ye sab ko ekatrit hona hoga… Ek baar Lohiaji ne gair Congresswaad ki baat ki thi. Aaj wahi daur aa gaya hai jab aapko gair Sanghwaad karna padega. Iske liye sabko ekjut khada hona hoga. Sangh-Mukt Bharat banane ke liye sabhi gair BJP party ko ek hona hoga (In the current situation, there will be two axes of power. On the one hand is the BJP, and on the other, everybody will have to join hands. Otherwise, if we remain separate, they (BJP) will create problems for everyone. All will have to come together… At one time, Lohiaji had talked about anti-Congressism. Today, the time has come when you will have to talk about anti-RSSism. All will have to join hands for this. All non-BJP parties will have to join hands for an RSS-free India),” he said at the conclave.
* After the grand alliance was formed, Nitish, while announcing the list of candidates in Patna on September 24, 2015, said: “RSS is like the Supreme Court for BJP. BJP talks about development, but does the politics of dividing… be it in the name of caste or religion.”
* In the run-up to the Bihar Assembly polls, Modi had launched a blistering attack on Nitish, saying there was something wrong with his “political DNA” that led him to desert his friends. Hitting back, Nitish said the remark was “indecent” and an “insult” to Bihar, and announced a “TakeBackYourWords” campaign under which 50,000 people from Bihar were to send their DNA samples to Modi in September 2015.
* On August 6, 2013, a few months after parting ways with the BJP, Nitish was invited to the 6th annual lecture of the National Commission for Minorities in New Delhi. “These days, there is talk of a wind. It is not a natural wind, but a wind forced through a blower (yeh kudrat ki hawa nahin, yeh toh blower ka hawa hai),” he said.
He also said that in order to govern a country like India, one has to take everyone along. “Kabhi topi bhi pehenni padhegi, kabhi tilak bhi lagana padega (Sometimes you will have to wear a cap, and sometimes you will have to put tilak),” he said. His remark was seen as an attack on Modi, who had refused to wear a skullcap offered by a Muslim cleric during his sadbhavna fast in 2011.