Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday blamed the Congress Party for the Opposition bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) losing steam as. “The Congress party seemed to be more interested in assembly elections in the five States,” he said. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took a jibe over Mr. Kumar’s statement and said the INDIA bloc has been a tukde-tukde (fragmented) alliance bereft of any “vision or mission”.
“We spoke with all the parties, urged them to unite and protect the country from those who are trying to alter its history. For this, meetings were held in Patna, and elsewhere. But, of late, there has not been progress on that front. The Congress seems to be more interested in assembly elections in the five States. In the INDIA coalition, we all had agreed to assign the leading role to the Congress but it appears they will call the next meeting only after the polls in five States,” Mr. Kumar said while addressing the Communist Party of India (CPI) rally ‘Bhajapa hatao, Desh Bachao‘ (remove BJP, save country) in Patna. Senior Communist Part of India (CPI) leaders including general secretary D. Raja were present on the dais when Mr. Kumar said that non-BJP Opposition parties had come together to form a new alliance to oppose the current dispensation.
EDITORIAL | Roadblocks to unity: On the INDIA bloc
“In Bihar, we used to admire the Left parties for their progressive outlook. Their rallies used to be attended by a substantial number of women in times when this was not a common sight,” said Mr. Kumar while turning towards the CPI leaders on the dais as he recalled that “CPI and CPI(M) had worked together” to help him “win my first election.”
“All the Left parties have the same origin,” Mr. Kumar reiterated.
Mr. Kumar also took issue with the alleged muzzling of media by the present regime at the Centre in the country. “All the good work done by this government in the State does not get adequate coverage,” Mr. Kumar said.
Mr. Kumar’s remark on the INDIA bloc has come after alliance partners Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) were peeved at each other over seat distribution in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly election. The Congress said that the INDIA bloc was meant only for national politics with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav upset over this remark.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders in the State took a swipe at Mr. Kumar’s comments about the INDIA bloc. “This INDIA bloc is nothing but tukde-tukde [fragmented] alliance competing with each other in every State. This alliance lacks both vision and mission, and offers only confusion and contradiction in their stead,” State BJP leader Bhim Singh told The Hindu.
Later, Mr. Kumar went to Patna’s historic Gandhi Maidan and distributed appointment letters to over 25 thousand newly appointed teachers. Over 1.20 lakh teachers were appointed in the State in different districts, including Patna. The Opposition BJP leaders had charged Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) government for appointing only few thousand fresh teachers, including those hailing from other States. Responding to the criticism, Mr. Kumar said, “Only 12% of the appointed teachers are from outside, and the remaining 88% belong to Bihar itself.”
“Is Bihar not part of the country? The whole country is united,” Mr. Kumar stated.