The ruling NDA alliance in Bihar is intact, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday, seeking to end speculation of strain in ties between the JD(U) and BJP.
“The NDA alliance is intact. Alliance gives constituents freedom to express opinion on any issue and there is no harm in this,” Mr. Kumar told reporters.
The JD(U) leader’s comments came against the backdrop of a survey indicating that the NDA will increase its tally in the next lok Saba polls due in 2014 if the JD(U) and BJP remain together but will lose seats if they parted ways.
NDA has 34 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, with JD(U) having 22 seats and BJP the remaining 12.
Asked about the fate of the NDA if Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate by the BJP, Mr. Kumar said, “We should not talk in terms of ifs and buts.”
To a query about his ‘who has seen the future’ remark which triggered speculation of a possible threat to JD(U)-BJP ties, the Chief Minister’s response was that he had said so in a general context.
“When there is no certainty of life then who can say in definite terms about the future,” he said seeking to clarify that it was not specific to ties between the two partners which is perceived to be under strain in the wake of the JD(U)’s sharp attack on Mr. Modi and the BJP’s vigorous defence of the Gujarat strongman.
On reports of him snubbing BJP MP Kirti Azad at Darbhanga, Mr. Kumar said: “I am shocked to see such things in the media ... nothing like this happened ... the issue has been blown out of proportion.
“It is the priority of the Government whether to invite an MP to such a meeting,” he said on Mr. Azad’s allegation that as a public representative, he was not allowed to raise issues related to water-logging.
Criticising RJD supremo Lalu Prasad for using unparliamentary language against him and his party leaders, Mr. Kumar said he could digest such comments, but those who could not would go to court.
“I have capacity to digest such baseless comments, but people who do not are justified in seeking justice in court,” he said, referring to party MLC Sanjay Singh filing a criminal defamation suit against Mr. Lalu Prasad for making a derogatory remark at the RJD’s ‘Parivartan rally’
“He has become unemployed and to seek employment, he is making vulgar comments at me and JD(U) leaders,” he added.