Nitish Kumar to be CM candidate, say Mulayam, Lalu

Nitish Kumar to be CM candidate, say Mulayam, Lalu
Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Ministerial candidate of the JD(U)-RJD combine in Bihar, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav announced today, resolving a major irritant in the alliance between the two parties to take on the BJP in coming Assembly elections in the state.

"I am very happy about the unity of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. Kumar will be the chief ministerial candidate for Bihar. Laluji has proposed Nitish Kumar's name for the chief ministership. Laluji said he will campaign.

"There are no differences and we will not allow any differences to crop up," Yadav said while declaring that they would fight together to root out "communal forces". A day after the two parties agreed to fight the Assembly polls in an alliance, Yadav disclosed at a press conference here which was also attended by RJD president Lalu Prasad and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, that Prasad proposed Kumar's name for the top job in the state.

Breaking his silence on the issue, Prasad said he cannot contest election himself and there was no other CM contender from his family or party. "There are no differences between us (between him and Kumar)," he said, downplaying earlier remarks of some RJD leaders expressing discomfiture over projecting Nitish Kumar as CM candidate.

The coming together of the once-bitter rivals is seen as a compulsion for the Janata Parivar, which lost badly in last year's Lok Sabha elections in which BJP won out of 40 seats in Bihar.

That he had to accept Kumar as CM candidate of the alliance under compulsion was evident when Prasad said, "I am ready to consume all kinds of poison." "But we will crush this cobra of communalism. We will destroy them unitedly. We will wipe out the BJP from Bihar."

Rejecting speculation about the BJP egging on him not to tie up with JD(U), Prasad said his identity in politics was due to "crushing the communal forces". Holding that "communal forces" occupied the seat of power in Delhi because of "division in forces of social justice," Prasad, who had ordered the arrest of BJP leader L K Advani in 1990 at the peak of the Ayodhya movemnent, said that incident started "Mandal versus Kamandal politics".

Prasad said he was repeatedly targeted by the BJP after that. "I and Nitish belong to the same family. We had our share of fights and differences and we had also levelled allegations against each other. But, despite that, when the JD-U was divided at the time of polls for Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar, I had called up Nitish Kumar in order stop the BJP. I supported him to check these forces," Prasad said.

Noting that there were some "illusions" in the mind of people, he said,"I want to clear those illusions. Lalu cannot contest elections. I am not a candidate (for CMship). Nobody from my family, my wife, or my children is interested in it. They (his children) are quite young. There was no candidate from our side (party), nor was any from my family.

"But the communal elements speak through the media. All kinds of rumours are being spread. They are saying we cannot come together. I thank Mulayam ji that he made the announcement that Kumar will be our CM candidate," the RJD chief said.

Downplaying remarks of some of his party leaders including Vice President Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who was against projecting Kumar as CM candidate as merely an "opinion", Prasad said,"anybody can give an opinion but the decision is taken here."

He also appealed to workers and leaders of both parties to "control" their speech and took a dig at leaders like Prem Chand Gupta from his party and K C Tyagi from JD-U while asking media to verify their "off-record" statements from either him or JD-U President Sharad Yadav.

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