UPA govt won't fall, says Nitish

Barely a few hours after DMK chief M Karunanidhi withdrew support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that the Union government won’t fall as it will ‘manage’ requisite numbers, and the Lok Sabha elections will be held as per schedule in April 2014.

Nitish’s assertions come a day after the JD (U) strongman held parleys with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram amid growing perception that one of the oldest allies of the BJP was inching towards the Congress.

Although Nitish’s meeting with the prime minister and Chidambaram veered around ‘special status to Bihar’, his body language in Patna on Tuesday must have given confidence to Congress mandarins who were reportedly re-doing their maths after withdrawal of support of 18 MPs from the DMK.

For the record, Nitish’s party has 20 MPs in the Lok Sabha. And even though he insists that he is very much with the NDA, the fact remains that he voted for Congress nominee Pranab Mukherjee (overlooking NDA’s candidate PA Sangma) during the presidential elections last year.

“The Congress is a master manipulator in managing its numbers’ game. So please don’t worry about its survival. It will last its full term and the Lok Sabha elections, according to me, will be held as per schedule,” Nitish said when asked whether he would bail out the UPA.

Realising that Nitish did not utter a single word against the UPA nor he gave the BJP any credit during his Adhikar rally in Delhi two days back, the saffron camp is, meanwhile, gearing up for a “future life” without the crutches of the JD (U). This became ample clear when senior BJP leader and Bihar’s Dy CM Sushil Kumar Modi too joined the chorus of his party leaders in singing paeans to Narendra Modi, a name Nitish abhors.

Sushil Modi, who is perceived to be close to Nitish, for the first time supported Narendra Modi during the two-day state BJP executive meeting in the state capital.

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