PATNA/NEW DELHI: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar‘s repeated assertions about not aspiring to the prime ministership or any post within the INDIA bloc seemed to have been overriden by his JD(U) on Tuesday when party president Rajiv Ranjan Singh declared to a large gathering in stronghold Nalanda: “Your leader is now ready to lead the country.”
JD(U) pitching an outwardly reluctant Nitish as the INDIA alliance’s potential PM face comes amid some Congress leaders propping up party MP Rahul Gandhi as the candidate of choice to lead the bloc and Trinamool clamouring for its very own Mamata Banerjee.
Constituents of the INDIA bloc parried questions on JD(U) joining the backdoor scramble for pole position in the leadership race. AICC spokesperson Supriya Shrinate suggested that was the least of the bloc’s concerns. “INDIA is unanimous in its view that the supremacy of the country’s Constitution has to be safeguarded, and the country has to be run according to the Constitution. It is committed to speaking about the youth, unemployment, Manipur, Adani scam and jobs.”
TMC refused to react on Singh’s statement while DMK organising secretary R S Bharathi said that party chief M K Stalin had said on multiple occasions that it was more important to oust BJP from government than anything else.
At Harnaut in Nalanda, from where Nitish had been first elected as an MLA in 1985, Singh aka Lalan, had read out the CM’s CV to project him as the most deserving leader to lead the INDIA alliance against BJP-led NDA in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
“He (Nitish) served as an MLA and MP, and also held key portfolios in governments at the Centre, including railways, agriculture and surface transport. Despite serving as a Union minister for long, there is no taint (of corruption). He has served the country with honesty,” the Munger MP said.
(With inputs from New Delhi bureau)