PATNA: Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, asserted on Friday that several members of the NDA alliance were aligned with the BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, primarily due to apprehension, and he predicted that they would defect during the upcoming elections.
As a key figure in the opposition coalition INDIA, Kumar responded affirmatively to repeated questions from reporters about the potential obliteration of the NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, using the word "bilkul" (meaning "certainly" in Hindi).
When questioned about Modi's disparaging remark ('ghamandia' jibe), Kumar stated, "Our collective objective is the nation's progress. The BJP seems unaware that a number of unnamed parties are currently with them out of fear. However, when the election is announced, they are likely to switch sides."
Having severed ties with the BJP a year ago, Kumar indirectly criticized Modi's absence from parliamentary proceedings during the initial two days of the no-confidence motion debate. He reminisced about the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's leadership, during which Kumar served as a minister, emphasizing that back then, there was a commitment to remain engaged in the parliamentary discourse.
Kumar, whose JD(U) party supported the no-confidence motion, believed that the opposition effectively discharged its responsibilities by bringing attention to issues such as Manipur and other national concerns. Expressing dissatisfaction with media coverage, he lamented that the ruling establishment seemed to control the narrative, disproportionately amplifying their voice while neglecting the opposition. He shared his personal decision to limit his exposure to news due to this frustration.
Addressing the BJP's claims of triumphing over the Mahagathbandhan, the alliance he joined after leaving the NDA, Kumar was critical. He accused them of conspiring with their "agent," an allusion to Chirag Paswan who led the Lok Janshakti Party during the 2020 Vidhan Sabha polls. Paswan fielded candidates against the JD(U), causing a significant reduction in the party's seat count.
Kumar highlighted that he had initially declined another term as Chief Minister after the elections but relented due to the BJP's insistence. He reminded them of previous elections where the JD(U) secured more seats than the BJP. Fondly recalling Vajpayee, Kumar contrasted his leadership with the current BJP dispensation, criticizing their priorities and their appropriation of Bihar government initiatives as their own achievements.
He concluded by alleging that despite his party's efforts in bringing piped water to households and electricity to villages, the BJP was attempting to take undue credit for these accomplishments.