Sunday, January 29, 2023

Nitish meets oppn leaders for unity; says neither claimant nor desirous for PM post

Affirming that he was neither a claimant for prime minister’s post nor desirous of it, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday continued with his efforts to forge the opposition unity and met several leaders, including those from the Left and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Kumar, who is on his first visit to the national capital after snapping ties with the BJP-led NDA last month, held a series of meetings on the second day of his stay here and asserted that his focus is to bring together all opposition parties.
“It is time for the Left parties, the Congress and all regional parties to come together to form a united opposition”, Kumar told reporters after meeting CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury. His meetings came amid speculation that his party is eying the leadership role for him in a proposed united front against the BJP in the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Asked about his aspirations to become prime minister, Kumar said, “This is wrong. I am not a claimant for the post, nor am I desirous of it.”
Kumar also met INLD supremo OP Chautala and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
According to Yechury, Kumar’s return to the Opposition fold and his desire to be part of a fight against the BJP is a great signal for Indian politics. “First, the agenda is to unite all parties, not to decide on the PM candidate. When the time comes we will decide the PM candidate and let you all know,” he said. The JD-U leader also met CPI general secretary D Raja. “I have had a long association with the CPI-M from my younger days. You all have not seen me, but whenever I used to come to Delhi, I used to come to this office. Today we are all together again. Our entire focus is to unite all Left parties, the regional parties, Congress. This will be a big deal if all of us come together,” he said.
During Kumar’s meeting with Kejriwal, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and JD(U) leader Sanjay Jha were also present. “Many thanks to Nitish ji for visiting my residence. Discussion was held on many serious issues related to the country like education, health, ‘operation lotus’, open horse-trading of MLAs to topple popularly elected governments, and increasing unrestrained corruption, unemployment and corruption for BJP dispensations,” Kejriwal tweeted while attacking the saffron party. The meeting between the two leaders lasted for nearly 90 minutes.
Kumar met Chautala at the former CM’s residence in Gurgaon. He was accompanied by JD(U) spokesperson K C Tyagi.
Speaking about the meeting, INLD leader Nafe Singh Rathee said the two leaders met “warmly” and Chautala also invited Kumar to attend a rally organized by his party to mark the birthday of former Prime Minister Devi Lal.
Kumar then went to Medanta hospital in Gurugram to meet Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh.
After his meeting with Yadavs, Kumar told reporters that they “share similar views and have to work together”.
The Bihar chief minister had met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at his residence on Monday.
Kumar has maintained that any opposition alliance against the BJP must include the Congress and the Left, a contention that is not fully shared by the AAP, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and K Chandrashekar Rao’s TRS.
Tyagi has asserted the Congress and the Left parties are an “essential component” of any non-BJP formation as he noted that his party has authorised Kumar to take required steps to bring together all opposition parties.
The state’s longest serving chief minister also expressed his thanks to the Congress and Left leaders for their support to him after he snapped ties with the BJP.
Though he 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.

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