Updated: May 24, 2016 3:16:37 am
Taking yet another step towards a bigger coalition that could take on the BJP in the state, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar patted each other’s back on Monday in Ranchi saying they were fit to become Chief Minister and Prime Minister, respectively.
Kumar also assured Marandi that the Janata Dal (United) workers work under his leadership on important issues like liquor ban or the domicile policy.
Attacking Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, the Bihar CM urged him to implement the liquor ban and get credit; or else Marandi would do the same when he comes to power in 2019.
Invited as chief guest, Kumar was addressing JVM (P) workers at their sixth open general meeting – where Marandi was re-elected unopposed as the party president for the next five year-term – at Morabadi Maidan in Ranchi on Monday.
Advocating liquor ban in Jharkhand, the Bihar CM said: “Ise prestige issue mat banaiye; apnaaiye….kariyega to shrey milega…nahin kariyega to Marandi ji 2019 mein lagu kar denge (Don’t make it a prestige issue; accept it…if you do it, you will get credit…if you don’t, then Marandi would get it done in 2019)”.
“I can tell you very clearly that JD (U) workers would work under your instructions in Jharkhand on various issues, like that of prohibition. I met party workers in Bokaro, after attending the liquor ban meet in Dhanbad. I have told them that they can work towards increasing their membership and all, but when it would come to taking up issues of public importance, they will work with JVM (P) at all levels,” said Kumar. Praising Marandi, he said that he has seen Marandi operate as the first Jharkhand CM and knows from personal experience that he had the vision and the ability of take everybody along.
Marandi said: “Every time Nitish ji takes up an issue of public and social importance, there is speculation….aisa lagta hai Nitish ji PM banana ke liye desh mein ghoom rahe hain (it feels as if Nitish is roaming around the country only to become PM)……In any case, are there any qualities in Nitish ji that he can’t become the PM?” He added that Kumar had the qualities and the capabilities to become the PM.
In tune with the two leaders batting for each other, one of the JVM (P) slogans at the meet was “Humne Bihar jeeta hai, ab Jharkhand ki baari hai; Lal Qila par Jhanda phahrane ki, Nitish ki Tayyari hai (We’ve won Bihar; now its Jharkhand’s turn; Nitish is now ready to hoist the National Flag at the Red Fort)”.
Already, the JVM (P) has announced economic blockade on June 11 and 12, where JD (U) will also come in its support.
Later, talking to mediapersons, Marandi said: “We (JVM-P and JD-U) are going to work together. It’s a new thing. People of Jharkhand have experimented a lot.”
Abhay Singh, a central secretary in the Party, said: “Merger is not the issue. The presence of Nitish in this meeting is a significant step towards the two parties to act closely with each other. Moreover, these are early stages. It will take time before the manner in which the two organisations integrate becomes clear.”
A party spokesperson said: “The ultimate vision of the Bihar CM is to have a new party that could challenge BJP at the national level. We are trying to work towards that and JVM (P) will play an important role in the same. Merger as a specific issue was never discussed.”
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