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A day after proposing Nitish as Prez, JD-U takes a U-turn

At least three ministers, Sanjay Kumar Jha, Ashok Chaudhary, and Shrawan Kumar, came before the media to clarify that Kumar is not very much “eager” to be projected as the Presidential candidate, although he happens to be the “most-suited” candidate for this post and aptly deserves it.

Manoj Chaurasia | Patna |

A day after the Janata Dal United (JD-U) put forward the name of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the Presidential polls, the ruling party, on Friday, took a U-turn with an interesting explanation saying the latter had got the mandate to serve Bihar till 2025. The sudden climb-down within 24 hours of staking such a claim has brought to fore the fault-lines in the ruling NDA alliance.

At least three ministers, Sanjay Kumar Jha, Ashok Chaudhary and Shrawan Kumar, came before the media to clarify that Kumar is not very much “eager” to be projected as the Presidential candidate, although he happens to be the “most-suited” candidate for this post and aptly deserves it.

“Nitish Kumarji ko 2025 tak Bihar ki janata ka seva ka mandate mila hua hai. 2025 tak Nitish Kumarji Bihar ki sewa karenge (Nitish Kumar has got the mandate to serve the people of Bihar till 2025. So, till then, he will serve as chief minister),” Minister for Information and Public Relations Sanjay Kumar Jha told the media on Friday. Building Construction Department Minister Chaudhary made similar remarks.

Eventually, Rural Development Minister Shrawan Kumar offered a new explanation. “Such kinds of talks keep on doing the rounds in the air given his (Nitish Kumar’s) long and illustrious political career but the fact is that he has no lust to become either the Prime Minister or the President,” the minister told the newsmen.

Asserting that Kumar deserved these positions, the minister said it was the people of the country who would decide for this. “He (Nitish) himself has said so many times that he will continue serving the people of Bihar till they want, but he has no desire for the top post,” the minister said. “Unke man me koi chahat nahin ki PM/Rashtrapati ban jayen”.

Barely a day ago, Shrawan Kumar had said the chief minister had all the qualities to become the President since his vision and thinking are of international standard, and if given the opportunity, he would run the country very well. “He is ‘Sarv Gun Sampann,” the rural development minister had said adding if he can set right the “incorrigible” Bihar, he won’t leave any stone unturned in putting the nation on a path to progress.

Reports said an abrupt and complete reversal of JD-U’s stand came soon after some BJP ministers took a dig at the party’s effort to put Kumar in the race for Presidential elections. “It’s not that only one person deserves this post. There are millions of people in the country who have the qualities to become the President,” commented senior BJP leader and Bihar Agriculture Minister Amarendra Pratap Singh, adding any decision about the candidate would be jointly taken by the leaders in the alliance.

Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), another NDA ally headed by Mukesh Sahani, too joined the debate, demanding Kumar’s projection as Presidential candidate. “Apart from successfully ruling Bihar for years, Nitish Kumar has also served as Union minister. In such a situation, he should be made the Presidential candidate. He has the ability and is eligible for the post of President,” VIP’s national spokesperson Dev Jyoti said.

The image of Kumar is that of a polished leader and in such a situation, his becoming the President will further strengthen India’s relationship with other countries at the international level, he added.