Updated: June 13, 2022 8:37:12 pm
Putting speculations to rest, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday announced that he is not a candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections scheduled to be held on July 18. “I am not in the Presidential race,” news agency PTI quoted the Janata Dal (United) chief as saying.
The JD(U) had floated the name of the party supremo and Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, as a probable candidate for the post of the President of India a couple of times over the last four months before rolling it back.
Following the recent announcement of the schedule for the Presidential elections, the JD(U) camp raised their February pitch afresh. The JD(U)’s Bihar minister Shravan Kumar told a TV channel on 9 June: “Nitish Kumar has an outstanding parliamentary and legislative career. He can be a good candidate for the President of India. If it happens, we all will be very proud. It would also be a matter of pride for Bihar.”
However, on Saturday, another JD(U) minister Sanjay Kumar Jha, however, said, “Nitish Kumar has got a mandate to serve Bihar till 2025.” On the same day, the JD(U)’s national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh was more forthright on the matter saying, “Nitish Kumar is not in the race for the President of India.”
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There has been a buzz in political circles whether it is part of the JD(U)’s “well-thought-out strategy” to first propose Nitish’s name for the job of the Head of the State and then roll it back. Political observers also ask if any JD(U) leader or its spokesperson can issue any such statements without Nitish’s approval.
In February, a day after Kumar met poll strategist Prashant Kishor in Delhi, there had been talks about Nitish as a probable Presidential candidate of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, whose key constituent has been the JD(U). Senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi had then gone on to say: “If it happens, it will be a huge honour for JD(U) and for Bihar which has not sent a President after the first President Dr Rajendra Prasad.” It then took Nitish to clarify that he was not in the race for the country’s top constitutional post.
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