Nitish Kumar ’strong’ PM candidate; Tejashwi Yadav explains why

Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav has explained why he considers Nitish Kumar as a ‘strong’ PM candidate for 2024.

Edited By Sounak Mukhopadhyay
First Published21 Aug 2022, 02:41 PM IST
A poster of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar seen with the victory signs of JDU supporters. (ANI Photo)
A poster of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar seen with the victory signs of JDU supporters. (ANI Photo)

In the midst of speculation that Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, might run for prime minister, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav stated on Sunday that the JD(U) leader might be a "strong candidate" if taken into consideration by the opposition. He views him favourably because of the "immense goodwill" people have for him.

Yadav was asked if Kumar is the most qualified candidate to run for prime minister in the elections of 2024 and if the opposition could nominate him. Yadav said, "I leave this question for Honourable Nitish ji. I cannot claim to speak on behalf of the entire Opposition, however, if considered, respected Nitish ji definitely might be a strong candidate."

He has been a social and political activist for the past 50 years, taking part in the JP and reservation campaigns, according to Yadav.

"He (Kumar) has more than 37 years of vast parliamentary and administrative experience and enjoys immense goodwill on the ground as well as among his peers," the RJD leader said.

Speculation regarding Kumar's potential candidacy for prime minister has increased as a result of his decision to sever connections with the BJP, his partner since 1996 with the exception of the years 2013 to 2017.

When questioned about the disparaging remarks he made about Kumar during the JD(U) leader's coalition with the BJP, Yadav responded that if one examines their commonalities and contrasts from a historical, national, contemporary, and regional viewpoint, one will discover a convergence of goals.

"We have emerged from the same churn of socialist movements and broadly share the same values. Sometimes there have been issues but none that are irreconcilable," he said.

"Our comments against the previous government were made in the capacity of a responsive opposition. All the interventions made by me and my party colleagues were to make sure the government heard the people's concerns and voices," he asserted.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader declared that the coalition of the JD(U), RJD, Congress, and other parties that brought about the Mahagathbandhan government's election "augurs well for opposition unity".

Also Read: Lalu Prasad Yadav says his strategy for 2024 Lok Sabha election is ‘Hatana Hai…’

"It signals that most of the Opposition parties recognise the larger challenge before the country – the hegemony of the BJP, where on the back of money, media, and (administrative) machinery power, they are determined to stamp out all diversity from the Indian society as well as from the political spectrum," he alleged.

It is also a question of regional representation and social justice and development issues at the level of states, Yadav said.

"For all their talk of cooperative federalism, the BJP's attempt has been to consistently ignore regional disparities. Bihar needs special attention – nobody can deny it. But have we got anything from the Centre? Not quite," he said.

Yadav asserted that regional parties and other progressive political groups have to look beyond their narrow gains and losses and save the republic, asserting that it will be very difficult to rebuild if "we don't stop the destruction in its tracks now".

Also Read: Nitish Kumar not a contender for opposition's prime ministerial face but can be an option if...

On the BJP's barb that "jungle raj" will return in Bihar, Yadav said it is a classic case of "crying wolf".

"It's a tired discourse. Please mark my words – people understand and see through these tactics to divert attention and mislead. One, this is the age of social media and friends in mainstream media are not the only ones who control the discourse," he said.

Now, young people and active citizens can immediately recognise propaganda and counter it, the Bihar deputy chief minister asserted.

"The ball is in the court of the mainstream media also – instead of doing 'he said, she said' – they should do their own checks. If the BJP says it is going to rain, friends in the mainstream media would do well to look outside the window and check for themselves if it would rain, instead of donning their raincoats and umbrellas and asking us if we think it's going to rain," Yadav said.

Also Read: Vintage image of Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav surfaces: ‘Brothers’, says Tej Pratap Yadav

Asked about BJP leader Sushil Modi's allegations against the new Mahagathbandhan government and calling him a de facto CM, Yadav said everyone is free to say what they want but it doesn't mean that "we have to take such things seriously".

"Respected Nitish ji is the Chief Minister and I'll work with him to the best of my capacity," he said.

On his promise of 10 lakh jobs and the talk around it, Yadav said, "We have started in earnest, firstly, by deciding to fill up existing vacancies on a priority basis. Thereafter, we will have a programme that will focus on incentivising job creation in various sectors where Bihar has an advantage."

Also Read: Lalu Prasad Yadav is back! RJD may get BJP’s share in Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet

"While we get on with our work, I'll appeal to the Union government again to give Bihar special consideration – the state has waited far too long. I want to remind respected PM Modi of the promises he made to the people of Bihar before both the general elections and the assembly elections," he said.

Kumar took oath as chief minister along with Yadav, who has been designated deputy CM, earlier this month after the JD(U) snapped ties with the BJP and joined hands with the RJD, the Congress and some other parties to form the 'Mahagathbandhan' government.

(With PTI inputs)

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First Published:21 Aug 2022, 02:41 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaNitish Kumar ’strong’ PM candidate; Tejashwi Yadav explains why

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