Bihar CM Nitish Kumar snaps at DMK’s Baalu for seeking English translation of his speech at INDIA leaders meet 

Asserting that Hindi was the national language, Nitish Kumar reportedly launched a tirade against English which he said was imposed by the British; some later speakers switched to English after his outburst

December 19, 2023 10:38 pm | Updated December 20, 2023 12:51 pm IST - NEW DELHI

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, and West Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, during the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) meeting, in New Delhi, on December 19, 2023.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, and West Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, during the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) meeting, in New Delhi, on December 19, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar lost his cool on December 19, when Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader T.R. Baalu asked for a translation of his speech which was delivered in Hindi at the three-hour-long meeting of INDIA bloc leaders.

In the last three meetings of the Opposition alliance’s leadership, Rashtriya Janata Dal Rajya Sabha MP Manoj K. Jha had played the translator’s role, conveying in English the speeches of both Mr. Kumar and his own party patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav. On Tuesday as well, it is learnt that after the Bihar Chief Minister’s speech ended, Mr. Baalu asked Mr. Jha to translate it.

Also read | Bihar CM Nitish Kumar loses cool over English signboard

However, before Mr. Jha could begin, Mr. Kumar, according to sources, snapped at the DMK leadership. Hindi, he asserted, is the national language of the country and everyone should be able to understand it. His tirade went on for the next few minutes, the sources said, as he launched into the details of the Indian freedom struggle against the British and the imposition of English. Several leaders stepped in to calm him down. However, no translation was done; even when Mr. Yadav spoke later, his speech was not translated. 

After Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge threw open the discussion, DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had been the first speaker, followed by Mr. Kumar. Sources said that to compensate for Mr. Kumar’s uncalled-for outburst, later speakers who usually spoke in Hindi switched to English, including Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party president Arvind Kejriwal. 

It is learnt that, in his speech, Mr. Stalin ticked off the Congress for going solo in the recently concluded Assembly elections, saying that they should have been fought under the banner of the INDIA bloc. Mr. Stalin had also met with Mr. Kejriwal before the INDIA parties meet. 

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