Never gave interview on PM issue: Nitish

 Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has categorically denied that he ever gave any interview to “The Week” magazine on the issue of prime ministerial candidate.

The magazine quoted him as having said that he would move out of the NDA coalition and join hands with the Congress if the BJP projected Narendra Modi as the prime-ministerial candidate in 2014 polls.

Soon after the “interview” became public on Wednesday, there was an uneasy calm in the NDA camp as the JD(U) and the BJP have been running the government in alliance since November 2005 in Bihar.

“I never gave an interview to the said magazine,” Nitish was quoted to have said.
“Journalists often meet him. There are informal talks too. But that does not mean that he gave an interview to “The Week,” a senior official of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat told Deccan Herald here on Thursday. The interview, appearing in the latest issue, would not have run into row had it not dealt with the topic of Narendra Modi or about the JD(U) strongman’s inclination to join hands with the Congress if it helps him develop Bihar.

“Once the honeymoon with the BJP is over, we will be free for the post-poll alliance with any party,” Nitish was quoted by the magazine, which has now reportedly removed the contents from its website.

In the print too, Nitish is quoted to have told the magazine: “The JD(U) will move out of the NDA within minutes if Modi is projected as the PM candidate in 2014 polls.”

Soon after the interview (which allegedly never took place) became public, the Bihar BJP president and former Union Health Minister C P Thakur was guarded in his response. “Nitish ji is free to express his opinion as and when he likes,” he said.

But what is the real fact? Was an interview actually done? Deccan Herald wanted to hear from the horse’s mouth and, therefore, called up The Week’s Patna-based correspondent Kanhaiya Bhelari. “What the chief minister is saying is true. I have nothing more to say. Now, please treat this chapter as closed,” the senior journalist told Deccan Herald here on Thursday, refusing to be further drawn into the controversy.

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