PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was on Friday pilloried by the main Opposition RJD for saying at a government programme that he is a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and not of Jawaharlal Nehru.
“I am a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, not of Jawaharlal Nehru. I follow Gandhi, Ram Manohar Lohia and JP. I believe in walking on the paths shown by them,” said Kumar in his address at a workshop of the building construction department for newly recruited engineers. He was, however, quick to add that Nehru had “considerable contributions” in the freedom struggle and building the nation.
Kumar, who is the national president of JD(U), made the statements while talking about Patna’s Jawaharlal Nehru Path, which is better known by its British-era name of Bailey Road. He rued the fact that this major road in the heart of Patna is still called by its old name because “those who renamed it did not publicise the new name enough”.
In his long political career based on strident anti-Congressisim, Kumar had become an ally of Congress in 2015 after snapping ties with BJP, his current ally in government. The JD(U)-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance won Bihar’s Assembly polls in 2015, beating the BJP-led NDA. After heading the Grand Alliance government for twenty months, Kumar dramatically dumped Congress and RJD in order to return to NDA in July 2017.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth than Nitish Kumar being a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He also talks about Gandhi’s seven principles. One of them is ‘politics without principles,’ and nobody other than Nitish Kumar embodies it better,” said RJD national vice-president and former minister Shivanand Tiwari.
Dubbing Kumar’s snapping ties with RJD and Congress as “the height of betrayal with the electorate,” Tiwari said Bihar’s people can never forget how Kumar had attacked BJP and RSS during the poll campaigns. Kumar had called for a “Sangh-mukt Bharat” (an India free from RSS), he said.
RJD and Congress hope Bihar’s electorate would punish the ruling JD(U) and BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha polls and the 2020 Assembly polls for “betraying the mandate of 2015 polls”.