PATNA: JD(U) national president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday gave a resolute call for Opposition unity and to set an alternative agenda for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, giving a glimpse into his rising impatience with the Congress’s political strategies.
“It is not just about Opposition unity. There should be an alternative narrative in place… Only an Opposition face without an alternative agenda will not work,” said Kumar unflinchingly a day after he hit out at the Congress for drifting away from its Gandhian and Nehruvian ideological moorings.
Expressing his frustration with the way the Opposition parties have been conducting themselves in their preparation for the 2019 polls, Nitish Kumar said simply uniting would serve no purpose in dislodging the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
He put the onus of taking decisive steps towards erecting an effective Opposition block on the Congress, reiterating that it the largest among the non-NDA parties.
“More than anything else, I think we should have an alternative agenda ready and place it before the people. We must make it clear to the people how we plan to take the country forward socially, economically and politically,” Nitish Kumar told journalists.
“No gains will be accrued only by speaking and opposing… The country today needs an alternative narrative. Only a reactive narrative will not do,” he added.
Displeased about how the Opposition has let go of crucial issues, Kumar said: “The farmers’ issue is now once again in the backburner. Political events around the upcoming Presidential poll issue pushed the farmers’ issue far back. This will not help”.
Although widely considered by JD(U) leaders and workers as the prime ministerial candidate of a likely alliance of non-NDA parties, Nitish Kumar denied yet again that he is in the race. “I am not the face of the Opposition for 2019 polls. I cannot be,” he said, adding, “Have you so far that someone whose name is talked about for something gets it?” “The alliance in Bihar for the 2019 Assembly polls was very strong. Candidates from the constituent parties were announced at one place. There was a strong unity and a clear agenda, which gave us huge electoral success,” said Nitish Kumar.
Nitish Kumar said the ruling alliance in Bihar remains strong and that he is committed to take the state forward. On the likelihood of the attending RJD’s proposed ‘BJP Hatao, Desh Bachao’ (dislodge BJP, save India) rally next month, he said: “An informal invitation has come, and a formal one is coming”.