No personal ambition, efforts to unite Opposition in national interest: Nitish Kumar

Advocating unity against the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said opposition parties were required to join forces before the 2024 general elections to effectively counter the current “one-sided” situation.

A united front against the BJP, Nitish said, was in the “national interest”, suggesting that his ongoing efforts are motivated by personal ambitions alone.

Speaking to the media after the conclusion of his three-day visit to Delhi, Nitish also specifically dismissed suggestions about his possible major role in the event of a joint alliance against the BJP.

He said, ‘I am not looking for any role for myself. Bringing the parties together is paramount for me. If the opposition parties form an alliance, the situation that will arise will determine the future course of action. But I can tell you, it will be in the national interest,” Nitish told reporters after meeting NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

On Tuesday, Nitish had said that he was not even a “contender” for the prime minister’s post, a line he has maintained ever since he exited the NDA and re-embarked the RJD, leading to a major split in Bihar. Political upheaval ensued brainstorming at the national level.

Hitting out at the BJP, Nitish said the Center was giving nothing but “empty words”. Compare the work done during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and under this arrangement. The entire focus is on publicity,” he said.

He also attacked political strategist Prashant Kishor, saying the latter’s statements “have no relevance”. “He was with us. I had asked him to leave his political consultancy service. But he did not agree. Does he have any idea about the work he has done (in Bihar) since 2005? He is only making rhetoric for publicity. He is an expert in doing that. And depending on the statements, perhaps, he wants to stay with the BJP or support it secretly,” Nitish said.

Responding to a question on a political formation like a Third Front, Nitish said, “I keep saying, if there is a front now, it will be the main front.”

“Excited” by the “positive response” received from opposition leaders in the last three days, Nitish said his efforts would not go in vain, adding that he would visit Delhi again to meet Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi who is currently abroad.

Apart from Pawar, Nitish also met CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya on Wednesday. Since Monday, he has met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, and INLD leader OP Chautala.

On the possibility of Congress and AAP joining the alliance, Nitish said, “Be it Left parties, Congress, SP or anyone else…”

He said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was among those who congratulated him on a telephone call after the development [out of NDA] in Bihar.

Meanwhile, Nitish also met President Draupadi Murmu earlier in the day.

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