Nitish sidesteps query on fighting LS poll

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday sidestepped a query about the possibility of contesting the next year’s Lok Sabha poll from his pocket borough Nalanda.

The JD (U) supreme leader was an MP from the seat until he resigned in 2005 to assume the highest seat of power in the state.

His party, nonetheless, has been able to retain the seat.

Sitting MP Kaushalendra Kumar, who is serving his third consecutive term, had on Saturday said he was willing to give up the seat if his mentor wished to enter the fray.

When journalists approached the chief minister with a query on the MP’s statement, his reply was characteristically cryptic.

“Just leave it. Why do you worry (chhodiye na aap log kahe chinta karte hain)”, said the longest-serving CM of the state, as he walked past the posse of reporters with a smirk on his face.

Incidentally, shortly after Kumar dumped the BJP in August last year, there had been speculations that he could contest from Phulpur in adjoining Uttar Pradesh, a Lok Sabha seat formerly represented by Jawahar Lal Nehru, where a sizeable chunk of voters are Kurmis, the caste to which the JD(U) leader belongs.

The JD(U) boss, who has vowed to defeat former ally BJP by uniting the opposition in the 2024 general elections, also seemed reluctant to comment on the 100th episode of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Mann Ki Baat”.

The saffron party has been livid over Kumar’s opposition unity outreach which recently saw him rubbing shoulders with leaders as diverse as Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Akhilesh Yadav.

The BJP, which lost power in Bihar as a result of Kumar’s exit from the NDA last year, has been testily asserting that there was “no vacancy for the prime minister’s post in 2024”.

Kumar, who had held important portfolios in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Centre, has been categorically stating that he had “no ambitions” for himself.