Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday expressed confidence that the NDA would win “200 plus seats” in the Assembly elections, scheduled for next year. He also took a dig at BJP leaders questioning his leadership, stating that they should be ready to face “bad days” after the Assembly polls.
This is the first time that Nitish has reacted to a challenge to his leadership for the 2020 polls, posed by senior BJP leaders C P Thakur, Sanjay Paswan and indirectly by Union minister Giriraj Singh. Even though BJP legislature party leader and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi had tried to put Nitish’s leadership debate to rest, some BJP leaders have continued to attack the Bihar CM.
Speaking at a JD(U) council meet, Nitish said, “There has been no problem at all in NDA. We will win 200 plus seats in next Assembly polls. We had done so in 2010 polls…. There are some people out to criticise me. Let them do so. I do not take much notice of it. But such leaders might well be ready for bad days after the elections results.”
Nitish reasserts his leadership
Nitish Kumar needed to reassert his position as the NDA leader and set things straight with respect to his relationship with the BJP. Even though he got backing of Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, Nitish Kumar’s silence in the face of challenges to his leadership had been fuelling speculations over his next political stand. By reiterating his commitment to the NDA - and by targetting those challenging him — Nitish has sent a clear message to the BJP, his own party cadre, and also to the RJD and Congress.
At the party meet, Rajya Sabha MP Bashistha Narayan Singh was re-elected theJD (U) state president for the fourth time.
Nitish, the JD(U) national president, said those out to attack him did not know the “ABC of politics” and would later “retract from their statements”. He asked his party workers to concentrate on strengths of the party and achievements of the government, and be unmindful of criticism from some corners.
Though the Bihar CM had not named Union minister Singh in his remarks, the senior BJP leader reacted by tweeting in Hindi, “Neither do I speak anything in front of someone or in his back. I speak whatever I find right and stick to my statement.”
Singh had earlier seemilngly challenged Nitish’s leadership by saying that Nitish was the NDA leader in Bihar “for now”.