Says leader can be decided later
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar as part of efforts to bring opposition parties on a common platform to take on the BJP and said the leader of their alliance for the 2024 polls can be decided later.
It is important to come together first, said Kumar, who held deliberations with Pawar on the broad contours of the opposition alliance and also met CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya.
The JD(U) leader said the time was ripe to present an alternative to the BJP which, he alleged, was “not doing anything for the people”. “Both Pawar and I are keen to unite opposition forces who are not with the BJP. A leader of the alliance can be decided later. It is important to come together first,” Kumar told reporters after a 30-minute meeting with the NCP supremo.
Kumar has been meeting opposition leaders during his three-day visit to the national capital after he walked out of the alliance with the BJP in Bihar and formed a government along with RJD and other parties.
The Bihar chief minister had met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday. He had on Tuesday met CPIM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, INLD supremo OP Chautala and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Kumar said he would come to Delhi once again to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who has been travelling abroad for personal reasons.
“I have met all the people in Delhi and many of them thanked me for coming out of the NDA. Everyone wishes that there should be unity in every state and such an atmosphere will be created in the country in the coming days,” Kumar said after meeting CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharyya, one of his oldest allies.
The JD(U) leader said that everyone is talking about opposition unity and “more than a face, a united front was required for the country’’.
“Everyone realises that those who have the power in their hands, they are creating damage everywhere in the country,” he added.
There are 16 MLAs of Left parties in the Bihar Assembly supporting the Nitish government from outside, these include 12 of CPI(ML), two each of CPI and CPM.
After meeting with CPI(ML) General Secretary, Kumar said, “Seven political parties united in Bihar and we are running the government together, while on the other side there is only BJP.”
‘’We had a discussion on how to work for the development of the state with consensus, how to uplift every section of the society and the work has to be done for the welfare of people.”
Bhattacharya said they discussed how a united opposition should work towards stopping the BJP’s “bulldozer raj” in the country.
“It is good that Nitishji is trying to get the Opposition together. The way that the BJP is trying to make India a one-party nation, we will have to fight together as one to thwart BJP’s attempt to undermine democracy,” said Bhattacharya.
Though Nitish Kumar has constantly tried to play down the buzz about his prime ministerial bid, there has been a clamour within his party that Kumar is the most appropriate candidate to take on the mantle of the opposition leadership due to his vast experience and clean image.
Asked about his aspirations to become prime minister, Kumar had said on Tuesday, “This is wrong. I am not a claimant for the post, nor am I desirous of it.”