Senior Bihar BJP leader and party MLC Sanjay Paswan on Monday said Nitish Kumar should now step down as chief minister and make way for the BJP.
Mr. Paswan said the BJP entrusted him with the CM’s post for 15 long years and now he should reciprocate the gesture.
“Yes, Nitish Kumar should now step down from the post of chief minister for BJP…we trusted him for 15-long years and he should now reciprocate the same for the BJP for at least one term”, the BJP leader Sanjay Paswan said.
The BJP is a ruling alliance partner of the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) in the State.
Mr. Paswan further said that Mr. Kumar “should now do politics at the Centre as people vote for PM Narendra Modi, not for the Nitish model.”
Speaking to The Hindu the BJP leader, who was Human Resources Minister for State in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet, said, “When people are supporting the Modi government on all issues like abrogation of Article 370, Ram Mandir and NRC why should Nitish Kumar not relinquish his post for the BJP for one term in Bihar? The BJP should get a chance for the development of the State with the Modi model.”
Sources in the BJP also said that while addressing State BJP leaders recently at the party headquarters in Patna, a senior leader formerly associated with the RSS had said that “the political atmosphere has never been conducive like today for the BJP in Bihar and we should seize it.”
Recently, the Bihar in-charge of the BJP Bhupendra Yadav visited the State and also had a closed-door meeting with Mr. Kumar.
Party sources said Mr. Yadav apprised party leaders about the BJP’s stand on NRC in Bihar, a Cabinet reshuffle, and asserted that the party would emerge as the single largest party in the State Assembly elections scheduled to be held in October-November 2020.
Reacting to Mr. Paswan’s remark, JD(U) leader and party spokesperson Nikhil Mandal said, “Only Nitish Kumar will be the face of the NDA in the next Assembly elections in the State and it has been accepted even by the top BJP leaders.” Party leader and chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh too asked Mr. Paswan, “Where were you during the 2015 Assembly poll when the people of Bihar had voted for Nitish Kumar and not the BJP?...Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister as long as the people want.”
Days back projecting Mr. Kumar as the CM candidate in the next Assembly polls, JD(U) had released its revised slogan “ Kyon kare vichar, jab hain hi Nitish Kumar (Why should we mull over, when there is Nitish Kumar).” Earlier, the slogan was “ kyon kare vichar, thike to hain Nitish Kumar (why should we discuss over when it’s okay to have Nitish Kumar) but they revised it when the media raised questions over the word “ Thike ” (just okay).
However, no other senior BJP or JD(U) leader came on record to make any comment on Mr. Paswan’s remarks. But, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Tejashwi Yadav dared Mr. Kumar to “contradict” what BJP leaders are saying. “Is it not true that honourable Nitish Kumar got votes in the name of PM Modi without releasing his party’s manifesto and got 16 of his party leaders elected as MPs on BJP manifesto (in the 2019 LS poll)…Is it not true that he has been supporting the BJP on every Bill?...then how come he is different,” tweeted the RJD leader.