press trust of india
PATNA, 21 JUNE: In a veiled attack on Mr Narendra Modi days after the JD-U split from the NDA, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today asserted that the country needs a leader who can unite, and not a “divisive” figure.
“We had already told the BJP about our apprehensions. We cannot have a man who is a divisive figure. Our diverse country needs a man who can unify,” Mr Kumar told on CNN-IBN.
The JD-U broke its 17-year-old alliance with the NDA in the wake of BJP anointing Mr Modi as chief of the party’s election campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. “A personality-oriented atmosphere has been created in the BJP now. All the discussions now centre around that,” Mr Kumar said. He was all guns blazing over the BJP’s decision on Mr Modi. “First, you make it a personality driven affair and after a hue and cry, you say we are opposing the person. But do the people not understand the agenda behind this,” he said. “There should be no polarisation. The polarising figure should not overshadow the issues confronting the country… Can the development model of a developed state like Gujarat become the model for the entire country? There are many backward regions in the country,” he said. Asked about his 2003 statement praising Mr Modi, Mr Kumar said: “After the 2003 statement, there was the 2005 election in Bihar. Why did not they call him to Bihar? Why did not they ask him to come in 2009?…I have also talked about what happened in 2002 in that speech.” Rubbishing the allegation that JD-U’s decision to snap ties with the NDA was aimed at consolidating its Muslim vote bank, Mr Kumar said: “The Muslims also have an equal right. Why are you terming them as a separate block. We are going with the consensus of the country of a liberal democracy.”
The Chief Minister said there was a “tactical” understanding with the BJP but there was no ideological compromise. “We did not betray the BJP. Charges that I am an opportunist are baseless. We joined NDA only after assurance that contentious issues like Ram temple, non-imposition of Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code will be put on hold,” he said. “We had conveyed our apprehensions to the BJP. We had told BJP not to name a leader without consulting allies. The new BJP model cannot carry everyone along. The BJP has deviated and has now taken a different position,” Mr Kumar said. Debunking the Gujarat model, the Bihar Chief Minister said one model cannot work for entire India.
“There are different growth models for different states. We developed Bihar which was underdeveloped. Growth should not be of corporates but of underprivileged,” he said, taking a dig at Modi under whose chief ministership some big business houses have prospered in Gujarat. Asked about Mr Modi trending on social media, he said, “This trend is very dangerous. The country can’t be run by publicity campaign on social media.