Some people in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s party wanted him to become Vice President, BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters today. Mr Modi, who was Mr Kumar’s deputy before he became a Rajya Sabha MP, said the same Janata Dal (United) leaders approached him with a plan that he could become Bihar Chief Minister if Mr Kumar goes to Delhi as Vice President.
“Some JD(U) people had come to say that make ‘Nitish Kumar the Vice President and you should rule in Bihar’,” Mr Modi told reporters just before Mr Kumar took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for a record eighth time.
The Chief Minister has denied he had any national ambition, and acted only to save his party from the BJP’s strategy to cut him to size. “Whether I will stay or not, let people say what they have to say. I am not an aspirant for the Prime Minister’s post. The question is will the person who came in 2014 win in 2024. In the last month and a half, I stopped talking to the media,” Mr Kumar said today.
Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), national president Rajiv Ranjan Lalan Singh also dismissed Mr Modi’s allegations. He said when media reports first speculated that Mr Kumar would likely be the opposition presidential or vice presidential candidate if he snapped ties with the BJP then, the JD(U) had clearly denied the possibility of any such thing happening. “They are just making up stories,” the JD(U) chief said today, responding to Mr Modi.
Mr Modi said Mr Kumar has insulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of Bihar who had voted for the NDA (National Democratic Alliance). “We will like to see how new Bihar government functions with Tejashwi (Yadav) as de facto Chief Minister. The government will fall before next polls,” Mr Modi said.
Mr Kumar broke ties with the BJP over a range of a reasons, chief among them his worries that the BJP may try to do a Maharashtra in Bihar.
“We did not try to split Shiv Sena in Maharashtra,” Mr Modi said, denying allegations by the JD(U) that the BJP had been working to hollow out the JD(U) from inside. “Nitish will ditch RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) and try to split it taking advantage of Lalu Yadav’s illness,” the BJP MP said.
The RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav is Mr Kumar’s deputy.
“I didn’t want to be the Chief Minister after the 2020 results but I was put under pressure…ask people in the party what they have been reduced to. Then you see what happened. I have not even spoken to you in two months,” Mr Kumar said in his address after taking oath.