'CM does not oppose for the sake of opposing'

'CM does not oppose for the sake of opposing'

The Grand Alliance in Bihar is in the news after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar extended support to NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind and the CBI case against Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. Speculation was rife that Nitish will break ranks with the alliance. Senior JD(U) leader K C Tyagi spoke to Shemin Joy of DH on the developments.
 
Is the alliance united? Or is it breaking?

The alliance is intact and united. There were some strains when the names of Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav appeared in FIRs or allegations. There were ED notices, I-T raids and a CBI case. Nitish did not want it to have any impact on the alliance government. Particularly, he wanted Tejashwi to come clean. He was of the view, which he said in a meeting of ministers, MLAs and MPs, that there should be clarity.

When their names had come in Jain hawala diary, leaders like Sharad Yadav and L K Advani had resigned. This was the tradition. Earlier, three ministers were removed by Nitish. If Tejashwi was in the JD(U), he would have been removed. But this is an alliance government. For 15 days, the RJD was adamant that Tejashwi would not resign, saying communal forces are targeting them, etc. Finally, Tejashwi met Nitish. Tej Pratap also met him.
 
Can we infer that Nitish Kumar has backtracked from his demand on seeking Tejashwi's resignation?

As the chief minister, Nitish Kumar never asked for Tejashwi's resignation. If the chief minister had asked a minister to resign, he has to. Otherwise, he will be sacked.
 
There is a perception that the RJD calls the shots. Is it an overbearing ally?

It was running smooth. The RJD had 22 MLAs earlier. With the JD(U) it has risen to 80. But one has to understand, the JD(U) had given its winning seats to allies the RJD and the Congress. One has to understand that in that process, we contested less number of seats. One can say that the Congress had a better strike rate as most of its candidates won the elections. The issue is that there is a systematic attack on Nitish Kumar. Leaders like Raghuvansh Prasad and some MLAs use whatever opportunity to target him. However, one should remember that not a single JD(U) leader attacked (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad.
 
Were you upset with the Congress’ reaction to the JD(U)’s decision to support NDA Presidential candidate?

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's statements on Nitish Kumar were unwarranted. But how did the JD(U) end up supporting Kovind? As there was wider consultation on vice presidential polls, the JD(U) and the BJD have also come together with other Opposition parties. We are of the opinion that if Gopalkrishna Gandhi was declared the candidate for Presidential polls earlier, there was no question of the JD(U) going out. Then it would have been a close contest. Most of the parties were for a non-Congress, civil society person. But then also, for the JD(U), the support for Kovind was a one-time, isolated incident.
 
There is a perception that Nitish Kumar always keeps his options open. Is it so?

He doesn't. He is a staunch Lohia follower and had gone to jail during Emergency but he never hobnobbed with the Congress then. When he and George Fernandes joined the NDA, they entered into an agreement that the coalition will not go ahead with the BJP's policies of abrogation of Article 370, Uniform Civil Code and Ayodhya issue. Then Nitish Kumar and George Fernandes had said the court will decide the Ayodhya issue.

For 15 years, we were in the NDA but fringe elements were not allowed. It is not the case now.

The NDA in which the JD(U) was part of is not there anymore. It is different. Earlier, it was not a bad thing to be in the NDA but it is a bad thing to be in the NDA now because the NDA has changed its character.

Then it was the same Nitish Kumar who first opposed the idea of banning triple talaq when the Law Commission sought an opinion. Nitish Kumar does not oppose for the sake of opposing.

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