Strange as it might seem, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s barbs against his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi and his open rejection of the latter as the NDA’s prospective Prime Ministerial candidate has failed to bring cheer to the Congress camp.
In fact, the Congress’ unenthusiastic response to the Bihar CM’s bluntspeak and the ensuing political slugfest between the JD(U) and the BJP, was revealed in party spokesperson Rashid Alvi’s routine dismissal of the issue, as an “internal matter of the NDA on which neither my party nor myself want to comment”.
“The tussle over who can be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate is an internal matter of the NDA, we do not want to get into it at all,” Alvi said. Although the Congress stopped short of openly calling Nitish’s anti-Modi rhetoric as a political gimmick it, nonetheless, sought to remind the media of Nitish’s political past. “It should not be forgotten that Nitish was the Union Railway Minister when the 2002 riots took place in Gujarat and he continues to run a state government with the BJP,” Alvi added.
Clearly, the Congress was smarting under Nitish’s equally virulent attack on the UPA Government on Sunday, calling it both “corrupt and communal” (the latter epithet was on account of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi). “Let the elections take place, the people will decide who’s secular and who’s not,” he said.
As for allying with the RJD, Alvi refused to commit anything. “A committee to look into the future alliances has been set up under (A K ) Antonyji, he will take a final call on the issue in consultation with Sonia Gandhi.”