The Bihar Chief Minister has ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race, saying he does not nurse any such “illusion” with so “little” strength of his party, the Janata Dal (United).

Speaking at the plenary session of his party here on Sunday, Mr. Kumar maintained that as the single largest party in the NDA, it was for the BJP to project a prime ministerial candidate with immaculate “secular credentials.”

But any attempt by the BJP to impose its ideology on his party would be counterproductive, Mr. Kumar said. Citing the case of Bihar, where the NDA alliance led by him has been in power for more than seven years, he said: “Why will we go for genetic modification when the crop is in the pink of health? Negative results are bound to happen if one makes an attempt at genetic modification.”

“We want to remain together. When did we say that we want to part ways? But when we want to stay together, there are some fundamental issues,” he said, clearly voicing his uneasiness over noises from a section of the BJP to project Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party’s PM candidate.

JD (U) president Sharad Yadav made a veiled reference to the political polarisation in the country after the Gujarat riots of 2002. “In 2004, Atal ji asked how could I, too, lose elections, I told him you also know the reason.” Mr. Yadav lost the Lok Sabha election from Madhepura, Bihar, to RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

Assuring the party that the “difficulties” that had cropped up within the NDA recently would be sorted out, Mr. Yadav said: “Our alliance is 17-years-old. We want to run this alliance.”

“Many difficulties came in the alliance, but we have surmounted them. We have a national agenda and have the commitment of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani to it. When we regularly interacted, why should we be restless?”

In a brief statement immediately after the JD (U) conclave, the BJP, without naming any one, regretted that the Opposition parties and allies were frittering away their energies by focusing their energies on Narendra Modi than on the UPA. The Congress-led UPA government was leading the country on a downslide in every field.

More In: National | News