Neither claimant nor desirous for PM’s post, time for united opposition: Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said he is neither a claimant for the prime minister’s post nor desirous of it, his assertion coming amid speculation that his visit to Delhi is to claim leadership of the opposition parties.
It is time for the Left parties, the Congress and all regional parties to come together to form a united opposition, Kumar told reporters after meeting CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI general secretary D Raja at their respective party offices.
The Janata Dal (United) leader, who severed his party’s ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) last month, is in the capital to meet key opposition leaders.
“I have had a long association with the CPI(M) from my younger days. You all have not seen me, but whenever I used to come to Delhi, I used to come to this office. We were separated but today, all of us are together again. Our entire focus is to unite all the Left parties, the regional parties and the Congress. This will be a big deal if all of us come together,” he said.
Asked about his aspirations for the prime minister’s post, Kumar said, “This is wrong. I am not a claimant for the post nor am I desirous of it.”
Yechury said Kumar returning to the opposition-fold and his desire to be a part of the fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a great signal for the country’s politics.
“First, the agenda is to unite all parties, not to decide on the prime ministerial candidate. When the time comes, we will decide on the prime ministerial candidate and let you know,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader said.
Yechury further said as of now, no concrete roadmap has been drawn up by the opposition, but talks are underway.
“We are hopeful that the political parties that want to secure and protect the country’s unity, diversity, its unique character and its Constitution will come together,” he said.
Raja said he discussed the evolving political situation in the country with Kumar.
“An ‘India Model’ of unity is emerging against the authoritarian misrule of the RSS-BJP. Also presented him a copy of my book on Marx and Ambedkar,” Raja said in a tweet after the meeting.
Kumar pointed out that his relations with the Communist Party of India (CPI) go back in time when he first became a member of Parliament.
“The (political) development in Bihar is not limited only to the state. It has a huge impact on the political course of the country. We believe that the time has come for all Left parties and regional parties to come together to fight the BJP to defend democracy. That is what Nitishji is trying,” Raja said.
Kumar, who arrived in Delhi on Monday, has also met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Janata Dal (Secular) chief H D Kumaraswamy.
The JD(U) leader is likely to meet other opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party), Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Aadmi Party), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) and Om Prakash Chautala (Indian National Lok Dal).