Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said he is not greedy to retain the CM’s chair and that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is free to pick any other leader for the position.
"People are saying that the BJP wants the CM's position. I do not care. I am not attached to the position," Kumar said at the JD(U)’s national executive meeting. "After the election results came, I made my wish known to the coalition. But the pressure was so much that I had to take up work again."
Nitish’s statement came amid unease in the NDA after six JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh jumped ship to the BJP.
The JD(U) on Sunday expressed anguish over en masse exodus of its MLAs to the BJP in Arunachal Pradesh, saying it is "not a good sign of alliance politics", while pitching for coalition dharma followed during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's time. The party's annoyance over the episode was expressed by its secretary general K C Tyagi after its national executive meeting here.
He, however, made it clear that the developments of Arunachal Pradesh will have no bearing on Bihar's politics as there is "no dispute" in its alliance government here. Kumar is heading NDA government in Bihar having JD(U), BJP, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) as its constituents.
After departure of six MLAs, the JD(U) is now left with one legislator in the northeastern state. "The party has expressed its deep anguish, displeasure, protest on Arunachal Pradesh development. It is not a good sign for alliance politics," Tyagi told reporters.
"The partners should follow the 'alliance politics' as was practiced during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure or being followed in Bihar for the past 15 years. "The coalition partners should follow 'Atal Dharma' while running alliance government, Tyagi said.
He pointed to the former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee successfully ran a coalition government of 23 partners where there were no contradictions among them (allies). He was sharing information about the decisions taken at party's national executive and national council meeting held at Karpoori Thakur Sabhagar at party's state headquarters here.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha member Ramchandra Prasad Singh better known by the initial RCP Singh, a close confidant of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was on Sunday chosen as the new president of JD(U). Kumar had proposed the name of Singh for the top post, which was then approved by other members during the party's national executive and national council meeting.
Stating that party leader had told home minister Amit Shah and BJP chief J P Nadda that they would not find an opposition who could created any sort of trouble for the government and hence they may be included in the Arunachal cabinet, Tyagi said that "instead of accommodating them (JDU MLAs) into the cabinet, they (BJP) included them in their party". "This is against the basic spirit of alliance government", he said while suggesting that "love and brotherhood should be the base of alliance.
Asked whether the party would apprise the BJP leadership of its displeasure, he said the displeasure will be communicated through media to them. Referring to Nitish Kumars speech delivered at the partys meeting, Tyagi said that Kumar did not want to become the CM after the assembly results were declared, the decision which he (Kumar) had conveyed to both his party and ally BJP.
Stating that those who raise the issue of strength of numbers, the JD(U) leader asserted that Nitish Kumar is man known for his "credibility" and not for "numbers". "Neither his credibility is affected at all nor party's vote share has gone down in the recently concluded Bihar polls", Tyagi said while adding that Nitish Kumar would give more time to other states.
In reply to a query, Tyagi said that party would contest West Bengal assembly polls. When pressed further about the number of seats that the party will be contesting, he said that decision will be taken in a day or two in consultation with partys state incharge and state president.
The party has also asked all its district president and candidates who fought Bihar assembly polls to find out the reasons, persons and groups responsible for the defeat of the nominees, Tyagi said. In reply to a query, JD(U) leader said that Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) was neither the part of NDA in Bihar nor at the Centre.
LJP had worked against the JD(U) in Bihar elections despite being an alliance partner of the NDA at the centre. Whether the party would join union cabinet, Tyagi said that the party would consider joining the cabinet if it gets a "proportionate representation", the issue which the party has already made it clear in the past.