Battleground 2019: Nitish makes his national ambition official, but he has a long way to go

Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya | Updated on: 18 October 2016, 11:04 IST
Battleground 2019: Nitish makes his national ambition official, but he has a long way to go
Nitish makes his national ambition official (Arya Sharma/Catch News)

After insisting for months that he was not in the prime ministerial race in spite of clear indications to the contrary, Nitish Kumar has finally made his national ambitions evident.

At Janata Dal (United)'s national council meeting in Bihar's Rajgir, the party announced that Kumar will explore "forging of alternative paradigm of politics" to provide a "strong national alternative of non-BJP parties to defeat communal forces".

The statement stopped short of declaring the Bihar Chief Minister as the party's prime ministerial candidate, but party leaders did not leave any stone unturned to indicate as much. The official statement only shied away from the official projection as they ripped BJP apart and extolled Kumar's leadership.

General Secretary KC Tyagi said, "Not just Bihar, but the entire country needs Kumar now, which is why we have assembled here."

The party statement called BJP a "prisoner of reactionary, outmoded ways of thinking" and that it had "unleashed...a wave of intolerance...on the nation".

It added that the "plural, multi-cultural, Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb of our civilisation is under serious threat due to the BJP".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also singled out as JD(U) said that it had broken the alliance with BJP anticipating "this rise of intolerance and violence" under Modi and that Nitish Kumar's 'political foresight' has been proved.

NDA's promises forgotten

The JD(U) statement also compared NDA under Modi with the NDA under former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying the JD(U) had joined the NDA on three promises -

1. The Ayodhya issue will be solved with consensus or after a judicial decision.

2. The Uniform Civil Code will not be arbitrarily imposed.

3. There will be no abrogation of Article 370.

However, the statement continued, BJP has revived the UCC and Ayodhya issues to polarise the electorate ahead of the upcoming UP elections and it is also creating doubts about the continued validity of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir.