Post of PM a matter of destiny: Nitish Kumar after being coronated as JD(U) president
Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said said he was trying to play a "catalyst" to unite anti-BJP forces to defeat the saffron party and was not a claimant to any post but added that "if a person is destined to become the Prime Minister, he would become the PM one day".
He was addressing party workers and leaders after being officially coronated as the national president of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in Patna.
"I am not a claimant to any post. All I am saying is that we all should unite (against BJP). Is it a crime to appeal the people to unite," Kumar said while addressing JD(U)'s national council meeting which formally approved his election as the new national president of the party.
He said that "time will decide the issue of leadership" and if a person is destined to become PM, he will become one "whether you name him or not".
"First of all, we should unite (against BJP). Everybody needs to make sacrifice. Grand Secular Alliance would not have taken shape if I and Lalu Prasad had not sacrificed for a particular cause," he said.
Just days earlier, Kumar had called on parties to unite for a "Sangh-free" country and repeat the Bihar experiment at the national level to oust the BJP in the 2019 general election, triggering speculation that he could lead such a front.
"If a person is destined to become the PM, he would become the PM one day, whether you name him or not. And the person's dream never fructifies if he declares himself as the PM candidate," Kumar said today.
Kumar's name was proposed by outgoing party president Sharad Yadav as his successor and around 1,000 party delegates from across the country ratified his election.
The national council was convened to ratify Kumar's nomination as president by the party's national executive committee on April 10 in New Delhi. Kumar replaced party veteran Sharad Yadav, who held the post for a decade.
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Coming down heavily on BJP government at the Centre for its "failure" to fulfill its promises and "dividing the society on religious lines", Kumar said that if there is unity among anti-BJP forces at the Centre, BJP will not be successful in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Assuming his role as a "catalyst", Kumar prescribed a 'Grand Secular Alliance' model on the lines of Bihar to defeat BJP.
"We defeated the BJP in Bihar Assembly polls by forming a Grand Secular Alliance and we will be defeating BJP with this model in Lok Sabha elections too," he said.
"Be it merger, alliance, understanding whatever it may be, I want the largest possible unity of anti BJP forces. That I will continue to do. We do not have any personal interest in doing so," he said.
Warning that the country is facing the challenge of BJP/RSS ideology, he said that BJP has forgotten all the promises made by it in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"Where is black money which it has promised to bring back", he questioned while reminding that BJP president Amit Shah had termed it a 'jumla'.
Ridiculing Narendra Modi government's schemes like Start up India, Kumar said that "every day we hear a new slogan. Today we hear Stand Up India, tomorrow it will be sit down India, lay down India and sleep for ever India.... Slogans must be translated into reality."
Kumar said that he would participate in the movement for implementing prohibition across the nation as in Bihar and he would start his campaign from neighbouring Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Nitish Kumar also warned leaders not to compete with each others in a manner that may end up pulling down their colleagues in the party. In order to drive home his point, Kumar cited socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia who asked the opposition to unite against the Congress.
"Till Lohia entered Parliament, not a single no trust motion could be moved against the central government. It was Lohia whose efforts fructified in bringing no trust motion after he brought opposition together for the purpose," Kumar said.
He also took a jibe at a section of media for publishing stories by asking for reaction and comments of leaders of other parties on his remarks. "This is not right. And please do not try to give a different direction to the debate (on having unity among anti-BJP forces)," JD(U) president said.
Attacking BJP, he said the party not only forgot to provide employment opportunities to youths but also forgot giving 50 per cent plus cost of production as MSP to farmers.
"The central government has promised to make the farmers' income double by 2022 but it should also tell about the current income level of farmers.
"At present, the farmers' income is around Rs 3000-3500 per month," he said.
The economy too is in bad condition with banks facing problems, he added.
While talking about prohibition, which his government implemented on April 5 in the state, Kumar made it clear that prohibition has not been brought for some days rather it is a permanent measure.
"We will not let anybody feel relaxed on the issue of prohibition. We have made a stringent law in this regard," Kumar said while making it clear that there is a clamour for prohibition in other states too.
People are asking if prohibition can be implemented in Bihar, then why not in UP Odisha, Jharkhand. In Tamil Nadu, there is an agreement for prohibition, he added.
Kumar said that he would participate in the movement for implementing prohibition across the nation.
The national council meeting of JD(U) was attended by Sharad Yadav, K C Tyagi, Bashishtha Narayan Singh and a host of party MLAs and MPs besides people from socialist or JP movement.
Nitish Kumar was elected party president, replacing Sharad Yadav on April 10 at the party's national executive meeting held in New Delhi.
JD-U Bihar unit president Vashisht Narain Singh said that party leaders from 28 states attended the national council meeting. "With Nitish Kumar as party president, the party will play a more active role in national politics in the coming days," Singh said.\
(With PTI inputs)