Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar continued his attack on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and said that all the surveys showing a potential exercise indicating his victory in the next general elections was merely a ‘PR exercise’ that would yield little.
“Talking to 100-400 people and pretending it is a survey is wrong. It is merely a PR exercise,” Kumar said.
“These people think that by influencing people they can win elections… The nation isn’t as small as some people think that they can influence just by creating a gust of support,” he said.
The Bihar Chief Minister in an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN’s Rajdeep Sardesai refused to name the Gujarat Chief Minister despite referring to him constantly.
“What is the need to name him?” Kumar said.+
The Bihar Chief Minister said that it was not necessary to name the Gujarat Chief Minister and said that his party had requested the BJP around a year back to name a candidate to head the alliance who would not be a divisive one.
“The BJP has to declare its leader. That is tradition…But the kind of leader should be one who can take everyone along,” he said.
Without naming Modi, the Bihar Chief Minister said that by elevating Modi they had effectively embraced his philosophy as well.
“The person and the philosophy are joined and cannot be separated,” he said.
Kumar said that the manner in which Modi was elevated was a matter of concern, particularly given the emphasis on his personality.
“Do not consider people clueless…The idea behind the person is important. We did not want the leader to be a polarising one. It is not something the nation needs,” Kumar said.
He also took potshots at the Gujarat Chief Minister’s model of development saying that what the nation needed was an inclusive model of growth on the lines of what had been implemented in Bihar.
“To develop an already developed state is good but it isn’t a model that can be followed,” Kumar said.
He said that the alliance between the two parties had been on the wane and if they had stuck with the BJP then the situation would only have worsened, since the party’s leaders were unable to take pride in their own achievements in Bihar.
Kumar also brushed aside criticism from the BJP that he had praised the Gujarat Chief Minister during a 2003 function and said that his subsequent actions showed that he was no supporter of Modi’s.
“After 2003, he was not called to the state in 2005, 2009 or any of the other elections…I would not given any importance to the the speech that they are now publicising,” Kumar said.
He claimed that the JD(U) had always stood by its philosophies of secularism and inclusiveness, which they had refused to compromise on even when they allied with the BJP.
“It was a technical understanding at the time and not a strategic one. We have always stood by secularism and socialism,” Kumar said.
The JD(U) leader said that he had found it easier to ally with the BJP while Atal Bihari Vajpayee was leading it and said the BJP would have done well to follow the former Prime Minister’s words.
“If Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s words on rajdharam had been taken seriously then the loss of 2004 wouldnt’ have taken place,” he said.
He also backed senior BJP leader LK Advani saying that what the BJP leader had said in Pakistan about Muhammad Ali Jinnah had been twisted by people and the party patriarch was a leader who had changed to become secular over the years.
He also ruled out any possibility of restoring ties with the BJP, irrespective of any decision the party took in the future.
“Once we have taken a decision we have taken it for good. We have nothing to do with that party any more,” Kumar said.
He denied that the party was in talks with the Congress, and that the battle for special status or the trust vote in Bihar had anything to do with an understanding with the party.
However, he did not rule out the possibility of forming a third front in politics.
“Presently it is not a matter of a political front…There is a common cause of economic backwardness and if we (the three states) work together it can have a greater impact. As of now a formation on the lines of a political front has not been discussed,” Kumar said.
“If there is a common cause and if it makes sense to make a common effort then we cannot rule it out,” he said.