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Do you have alternative agenda to match Modi govt, Nitish asks Congress

Just harping about unity among opposition parties isn't enough, says Bihar CM

Satyavrat Mishra & Archis Mohan  |  Patna | New Delhi 

Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar

on Monday said he cannot be the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate for 2019. 

In comments targeted at the Congress, the Janata Dal (United) chief also said the parties should build “alternative narratives” against the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), rather than remaining prisoners to “reactive narratives”.

In an apparent swipe at Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, he said “more than having a face, the should have alternative narratives”. Kumar said his was a small party. “We very well know the futility of nourishing prime ministerial ambitions. It is seen that the candidate whose name is in circulation never gets the post,” said the JD-U president. 

In New Delhi, leaders said their recent war of words with Kumar, in the wake of his deciding to support the Democratic Alliance (NDA) presidential candidate, was a thing of the past and the “grand alliance” in was intact.

Addressing a press conference in Patna, Kumar asked the to take the lead as “a big party in setting an alternative narrative” for the next general elections. “Just talking of unity among parties isn’t enough,” the said on the sidelines of his weekly Lok Samvad programme. “There must be an agenda against the BJP-led government at the Centre. This must not be just in reaction to what the says or does, but an alternative narrative. Congress, being the largest party, must lead from the front.”

He said the grand alliance won in in 2015 because, besides coming together, it had a vision and programme for the state’s development by way of “seven resolves”, while the constituents lacked this.

spokesperson said common grounds for the could include farm distress, disinvestment and the recent lynching. He said leaders of the 17 parties should visit the house of 15-year-old Junaid Khan, who was killed last week by a mob in Ballabhgarh near Delhi.

At a meeting on Sunday, Kumar had openly blamed the for heavily denting the impact of a large league of parties that he helped bring together. He also blamed the for mishandling of alliances ahead of the recent

Criticism from and other parties had been swift. leader Ghulam Nabi Azad accused Kumar of being flexible with his principles. Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury had told a newspaper: “was being considered for the 2019 elections as the potential candidate to lead the non- Now there’s a question mark on that, it is almost closed.”

First Published: Tue, July 04 2017. 01:00 IST