Scotching speculation about him being a possible Prime Minister candidate from among the Opposition ranks in the next Lok Sabha elections, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that he neither has “national ambition”, nor is he certain that he has “such qualities” to become the PM.
Interacting with the media on the sidelines of his Lok Samvad programme, Nitish also reiterated the need for Opposition unity and said that “nothing can be better” than giving President Pranab Mukherjee a second term.
“I am not in the race to be the PM,” Nitish, national president of the Janata Dal (United), said. “I do not have national ambition and I am not sure if I have such qualities (to become the PM). I am a leader of a small party, and am I focussed on my my job of serving the people of Bihar.”
Emphasising that the people will choose their own leader in 2019 General Election, Nitish said, “Who would have thought five years ago that Narendra Modi would become the Prime Minister? But the people of the country saw capabilities in him, and he became the PM. Jisme kshamta hogi woh 2019 mein aage aayega (whoever has the qualities will emerge as the PM choice in 2019.)”
Nitish has been trying hard to forge a non-BJP alliance at the national level, and has met several top leaders in recent weeks, purportedly to discuss the possibility of a joint Opposition candidate for the upcoming Presidential election but apparently also with an eye on the next Lok Sabha polls. He has met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and DMK’s Kanimozhi, among others, in the last three months.
Asked whether he supports the idea of Mukherjee being given another term, Nitish said, “Isse achchhi baat kuchh ho hi nahi sakti (Nothing can be better than this). We want consensus on the post of President. If consensus does not emerge, it is the Opposition’s job to field a candidate.”