Business Standard

Respect 'Bihar ki beti' but this is a losing prez poll strategy: Nitish

The JD(U) rejected RJD chief Lalu Prasad's request to reconsider its support to the NDA's Prez pick

Press Trust of India  |  Patna 

'Bihar ki beti' nominated only to lose: Nitish on Meira as Prez candidate
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with RJD Chief Lalu Prasad at a Roza-Iftaar party hosted by the latter in Patna (Photo: PTI)

Adhering to his stand on supporting the NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, Bihar Chief Minister on Friday said the JD(U) took the decision after considering all aspects and the election for the top office should not be a matter of confrontation.

He said his party had always taken independent decisions, including backing the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee, who was then the UPA's nominee, for the post while being in the NDA.

"Kovind's name was announced first by the ruling party and we do not have any objection to his name. That is why we supported him," he told reporters here.

The JD(U) had on Thursday rejected its ally and RJD chief Lalu Prasad's request to reconsider its support to the NDA's presidential pick, saying its stand was based on merit and it would stick it.

"Everyone is independent to put forth views. As far as the 'mahagathbandhan' is concerned, it is not an issue of the alliance. It is a decision to be taken by each party separately," Kumar said.

He said he had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and that he had conveyed to them that it was a matter of pride that Bihar Governor Kovind will become the next president.

Kovind had worked for Bihar without any bias, he said.

"It's an election for the post of the president. It should not become an issue of confrontation," Kumar asserted.

He said the party could have conveyed its view at the opposition meeting on Thursday to pick its nominee, but when Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had come to Patna a day earlier he had made clear his stand.

"There should be a strategy for the 2019 general elections. This is not for victory in 2019," the Bihar chief minister said.

"There is no doubt about the result. We have a lot of respect for 'Bihar ki beti' (Meira Kumar). But the question is has the 'Bihar ki beti' been chosen as the opposition candidate to lose," he said.

"You (Congress) had opportunities twice. But, why didn't you chose the 'Bihar ki beti' when she had a chance to win? I believe they should have a re-think," Kumar said, adding, "But you (Congress) have begun with a losing strategy."

He said the president's chair was not for a political battle.

"Had there been a consensus, it would have been a good thing, but I do not consider it should be a matter for raising questions," Kumar said.

First Published: Sat, June 24 2017. 09:51 IST