Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday blamed the Congress’ preoccupation with assembly polls in five states for the INDIA coalition’s inability to build on the momentum it had gained in recent months.
The JD(U) leader’s remarks to the effect came at a rally, held here by the Communist Party of India which was evocatively themed ‘Bhaajpa hataao Desh bachao’ (dislodge the BJP from power, save the country).
Speaking in the presence of senior leaders like CPI general secretary D Raja, the Bihar CM recalled that parties opposed to the current dispensation had come together to form the new coalition.
“But, of late, there has not been much progress on that front. The Congress party seems to be more interested in the five assembly polls. In the INDIA coalition, all of us had agreed to assign the Congress the leading role. But it appears they will respond and call the next meeting only after they are through with the ongoing elections”, said Kumar who had hosted the first meeting of opposition leaders here in June which set the tone for the formation of the new coalition.
He also charged the BJP, which he had dumped about a year ago, with trying to pit Hindus against Muslims while noting with satisfaction that Bihar has remained relatively free from communal disturbances.
The JD(U) leader lambasted the ruling BJP at the Centre for “trying to alter the country’s history, to hide the fact that it had played no role in the struggle for independence”.
Turning towards Raja, he recalled his close association with the Left parties since the 1980s when “CPI and CPI(M) had worked together to help me win my first election”.
“In Bihar, we used to admire the Left for its progressive outlook. Its rallies used to be attended by a substantial number of women in times when this was not a common sight”, said the septuagenarian.
“All Left parties have the same origin. You should consider becoming a single entity again”, Kumar remarked in a lighter vein, to which the CPI general secretary replied with a broad grin.
In his speech, Kumar also touched upon the alleged muzzling of the media by the current regime at the Centre, claiming that good work done by his government in the state did not get adequate coverage.