Amid Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's ongoing efforts to forge Opposition unity to counter the ruling BJP at the centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, JD(U) chief Rajiv Rajan (Lalan) Singh clarified that Nitish Kumar is not a prime ministerial candidate.
“Nitish Kumar is not a prime ministerial candidate. He is spearheading to build the BJP-free country. He is committed to strengthening Opposition unity,” said the Janata Dal United (JDU) chief.
#WATCH | Patna, Bihar | JD(U) chief Rajiv Ranjan (Lalan) Singh says, "Nitish Kumar is not a contender for the post of the Prime Minister. He has stepped up to build a BJP-free country and is working to unite the Opposition...When the elections conclude and the country becomes… pic.twitter.com/l8VJ85rXXG— ANI (@ANI) June 11, 2023
JD(U) workers expressed their enthusiasm by raising "Nitish for PM" only to be ticked off by the national president who reminded them that the Bihar CM, the party's supreme leader, has repeatedly ruled himself out of the race.
Earlier, Lalan had said leaders who had given their assent included Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge from Congress, besides Arvind Kejriwal (AAP), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), M K Stalin (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Akhilesh Yadav (SP) and Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena-UBT).
Jammu and Kashmir’s National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti have also extended their support for the opposition meeting scheduled for June 23. The meeting was earlier scheduled to be held on June 12 but was postponed after some opposition members couldn't attend on that specific day.
JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has taken a lead in speaking to several regional satraps besides the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, and the Left to forge unity among opposition ranks to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Nitish Kumar and Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal earlier called for opposition unity to take on the BJP as the JD(U) leader met the AAP convenor at his residence and extended "complete support" to him in the ongoing face-off with the Centre over the control of administrative services.
Recently, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during an interaction in Washington said that the BJP will be "decimated" in the next three-four assembly elections by the Congress, emphasising that they have the basic requirements that are needed to defeat the ruling party which do not have the support of the vast majority of the Indian population.
Interestingly, opposition unity was also showcased at the swearing-in of Congress leader Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar in Bengaluru on, as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his Tamil Nadu counterpart M K Stalin and a host of leaders arrived in what was seen as a coming together of the non-BJP bloc ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
According to reports, Nitish Kumar has held similar meetings with other opposition leaders in the last month.
Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav met Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray at his residence Matoshree, in Mumbai. He also met Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, along with holding discussions with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.
(With inputs from PTI)