Senior NCP leader Tariq Anwar today said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had lost political credibility following his return to the BJP-led NDA last year and his going over to the Congress-led UPA seemed “unlikely”.
The Katihar MP also said he agreed with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav’s contention that there was “no guarantee” that the JD(U) chief would not do yet another turnaround in the future if his re-entry (into the Grand Alliance, comprising the Congress and the RJD) was allowed.
“Nitish Kumar is facing problems in the NDA. He feels that the BJP-led coalition may not leave as many seats for the JD(U) to contest (in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls) as he desires…as of now, there is not even a formal proposal (about Kumar’s return to the Grand Alliance),” Anwar told reporters.
He was replying to a query on reports of Kumar’s dissatisfaction with the NDA, speculation about his return to the “Mahagathbandhan” (Grand Alliance) and the assertion of RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav that the “door is closed” for the JD(U) chief.
Asked about Yadav’s recent remarks on the issue, Anwar said, “The RJD is the largest constituent in the Grand Alliance. What it says will carry weight. We agree with Tejashwi’s view that Kumar’s political credibility has eroded on account of his volte-face and hence, his return to the Mahagathbandhan seems unlikely.”
“We agree when Tejashwi says if Kumar chooses to return to the Grand Alliance, not many will be convinced about his step as, in view of his past actions, there seems to be no guarantee that he will not switch sides later,” the former Union minister said.
Headed by Sharad Pawar, the NCP is a part of the UPA and Anwar, who is a national general secretary of the party, is its sole MP from Bihar.
The NCP leader, who has been pressing the demand for a “special status” for Bihar, said, “Being an ally of the BJP, which rules at the Centre, Kumar should ensure that if a special status is not possible, the state should at least be given a special package.
“Our party will stage a dharna in Delhi in August to press the demand. We also appeal to all the opposition parties to make the special status an election plank in the Lok Sabha polls next year.”
On some BJP leaders stating that after the release of a video of the surgical strikes, the opposition needed to “apologise”, Anwar said it was their former leader Arun Shourie and not someone from the opposition, who had used the term “farzical” to describe the Army operation.
“The opposition never questioned the surgical strikes per se. The opposition’s contention has always been that instead of blowing its own trumpet, the Narendra Modi government should have given the entire credit, deservingly, to the Army,” he added.
Asked about Yogi Adityanath speaking in favour of reservations for Dalits and OBCs in Aligarh Muslim University, the former Union minister said the Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s statement was “aimed at politics of polarisation” and “reflected his lack of knowledge about the constitutional provisions for minority educational institutions”.