Nitish Kumar rejects allegations of political volte-face

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today rejected opposition RJD’s allegation that he had done a political volte-face by walking out of the Grand Alliance and re-joined the BJP-led NDA.

Without naming RJD or any of its leaders, Kumar, who is also the JD(U) national president, asserted that he had not turned his back on any of his government’s agenda but found it difficult to work with people who believed in using power for amassing wealth.

“It is often said about me – ‘palat gaye’ (did a volte- face). I wish to point out that I have never turned my back on any of the agenda set by the government headed by me,” he said at a function held on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur.

“I am always of the view that while in power, we have to serve the people. But some people have different beliefs – they think power is meant for amassing huge wealth. I found myself incapable of working with such elements.

“The Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) was not formed for indulging in mischief and committing wrongdoing. There is a limit to which I could have compromised. When the limit was crossed, I had to take the decision that best suited the interests of Bihar,” the chief minister said.

Kumar had returned to power in 2015 after the emphatic victory of the Grand Alliance comprising the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress in the Assembly polls.

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav were made the deputy chief minister and the health minister respectively.

Kumar, however, ditched the alliance in July last year after the RJD refused to heed to his suggestion that Tejashwi Yadav gives a public explanation about money laundering cases in which his name had cropped up.

Kumar then formed a new government in alliance with the BJP and returned to the NDA.

Since then, RJD leaders have been severely critical of Kumar and have accused him of “betraying the mandate”.

Paying rich tributes to Thakur, a towering leader who had been a mentor to both Kumar and Prasad, the chief minister said he was an epitome of love and simplicity and only those who try to imbibe these qualities can claim to be his true successors.

Kumar also indirectly accused the opposition party of having “stage-managed” the recent attack on his convoy in Buxar and trying to discourage people from taking part in the state-wide human chain programme on January 21.

“When stones were being hurled at me I was puzzled as I was planning to get down from my vehicle and speak to the people. I know who were behind the incident but have asked officials not to be harsh on those arrested for it. Once out of jail, these misguided people will repent what they did,” the chief minister said.

The human chain programme by the JD(U) was against dowry and child marriage, the two issues which have been taken up by Kumar.

“Those who stood beside me holding my hand during the human chain last year in support of the ban on alcohol have now started finding faults with the policy. I also know that people were dissuaded from taking part in the human chain we formed against child marriage and dowry,” Kumar said.