Nitish wants BJP to name PM nominee

Bihar chief minister later denies giving interview

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was on Sunday quoted as having said that the BJP should declare its prime ministerial candidate in advance for next year’s Lok Sabha poll, but he later denied having said so.

A leading Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar quoted Kumar as saying: “The general election will be fought the same way Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name was put forward ahead of the polls.

The BJP will have to declare its candidate. The party is yet to declare its name officially.”
 Kumar, who is a key leader of Janata Dal-United (JD-U), a partner of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) , reportedly said. After the interview was published, a statement issued by the CM’s Secretariat said, “The Chief Minister did not give any interview to Dainik Bhaskar.”

It referred to a private channel quoting the report in the Hindi daily. This is the second time that the Nitish denied giving an interview. On August 16, last year, he had denied having given any interview to a magazine saying he will break his alliance with the BJP if Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is made its prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 poll.

“I never gave any interview to the magazine which has been quoted in the news,” Kumar had said, referring to a reported interview in The Week magazine which had later pulled it out of its website.

Meanwhile, Bihar JD-U President Bashishtha Narayan Singh on Sunday said declaring name of the prime ministerial nominee would benefit the NDA.

“Declaration of name of V P Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee as PM candidate had helped in the elections. Declaring PM candidate after consulting all partners before polls will benefit the NDA in the elections,” Singh, an MP said.

Voices within the BJP pitching for Modi as the party’s PM candidate have grown louder with three party MPs—Yashwant Sinha, Ram Jethmalani and C P Thakur—backing him but discomfort among the NDA allies has been visible with the Shiv Sena batting for  Sushma Swaraj for the top post.

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