Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday made his Prime Ministerial ambitions known, saying he is more qualified and experienced than those “roaming around” for the top job.
“I am more qualified than those roaming around for the post of Prime Ministership,” Kumar said in his ‘sankalp yatra’ held here to demand special category status for Bihar.
Without naming either BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi or Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, he said: “One does not have the experience of Parliament, another has no experience of running a state... I have both experiences... Am I less qualified than them?”
Asked categorically if he was a Prime Ministerial candidate, Kumar said his party JD(U) was small and modest and did not make tall claims, but believed in working sincerely for the people.
Told that senior leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Jayalalithaa, whose parties SP and AIADMK were part of the Third Front, had hinted of being in the race for PM post, he shot back: “What’s wrong in this? Every party has its strategy to maximise support among people.”
Kumar also claimed that all ‘sponsored’ poll surveys would be proved wrong ultimately and neither the BJP nor the Congress would come to power. “In fact, the new grouping which you call the Third Front will be the First Front,” he said.
“The non-Congress and non-BJP parties will have the largest numbers after the polls,” he said, referring to the Federal Front of 11 non-Congress and non-BJP parties for which he has been a prime mover. He categorically ruled out siding either with the Congress or the BJP after the polls.
In an apparent dig at his Gujarat counterpart, he said: “2002 riots had led to the demise of NDA in 2004 general elections.”
Kumar, whose hostility towards the BJP PM pick is no secret, broke away from the NDA after 17 years over the elevation of Narendra Modi. Asked if there was any effort at tie-up between the JD(U) and the Congress till it allied with the RJD, he answered in the negative. “Actually it was a tactics of the Congress to create pressure on Lalu Prasad and they successfully won one an additional seat from the RJD while stitching up an alliance,” Kumar said.