Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said in Patna on Monday that the 2002 Gujarat riots could never be forgotten, nor be pardoned.
In a veiled attack at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a press conference, Mr. Kumar said, “What happened in Gujarat can never be forgotten and it can never be pardoned.”
Ever since the Gujarat CM has been declared as the prime ministerial candidate, he has been asked time and again if he would apologise for the post Godhra riots.
Mr. Kumar made light of Mr. Modi’s recent promise of fast bullet trains as nothing more than a pre-poll talk.
“Since the 1980s there have been talks about a high-speed corridor. I have seen that this does not benefit the country too much. To implement it you need land. There are several problems in land acquisition. There were discussions on building a high-speed corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Let us see if the government is able to make it happen. A lot of things are said before elections.”
On the issue of communal incidents in Bihar after the break-up of the National Democratic Alliance government, Mr. Kumar said, “In my public meetings I always appeal to the people to beware of those who try to fuel communal hatred and to stay united and maintain harmony.”
On the possibility of alliances in Bihar for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Kumar said, “I only read about it in the newspapers. Sometimes the JD(U) is linked with the Congress and sometimes it’s the RJD. This is a completely non-existent matter. Nobody, at any level, has had any discussion with the Congress about an electoral understanding. As of today, we do not have an alliance with any party,”
As for overtures to the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party, he said, “We have not had any official discussion with them. It all depends on them. They have to decide what kind of an alliance they want.”
On Lalu Prasad
The chief minister took objection to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s jibes at him at a recent function.
At an event marking the launch of the Patna edition of ‘Dainik Bhaskar, the two leaders had come together on one dais and took pot shots at each other in their speeches. Mr. Prasad hinted indirectly that Mr. Kumar was muzzling the media.
Asked to comment, Mr. Kumar remarked, “Does he [Mr. Prasad] respect any boundaries? It was a function for the launch of a newspaper. The newspaper invited me and others too. Do you launch political attacks at such apolitical programmes?”