Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday said Congress president Rahul Gandhi has squandered his goodwill by allying with RJD chief Lalu Prasad, going opposite to his stand when he tore an ordinance aimed at reversing a Supreme Court order on disqualification of convicted politicians.
Kumar also took potshots at Gandhi for the promises he made at his Patna rally on Sunday.
“Gandhi had famously torn and thrown away a copy of the ordinance that intended to reverse a Supreme Court order on disqualification of convicted politicians. But later he allied with the same type of people and yesterday he was singing paeans (to Prasad),” Kumar said, without naming the RJD chief.
The JD(U) chief, who had forged a short-lived alliance with the RJD and the Congress, which came to be known as the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or grand alliance, for fighting the 2015 Bihar assembly poll, has been squarely blaming Gandhi for his volte face of 2017 when he returned to the BJP-led NDA.
He has been alleging that Gandhi had failed to take a stand on the corruption cases against the then Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, which was bringing a bad name to the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government.
“Here is a person who has been convicted in a corruption case by a court of law. And people have the temerity to say that he is being framed. Allying with such people has only destroyed the goodwill earned through gestures like tearing of the ordinance,” Kumar rued.
Berating the show of opposition unity at the rally which was attended by Tejashwi and his associates-turned-adversaries Jitan Ram Manjhi and Sharad Yadav, among others, Kumar said “it was I who had coined the term Mahagathbandhan”.
“Now it is just a gathbandhan. Mind you even he (Gandhi) repeatedly used the term gathbandhan only,” the JD(U) chief said.
He also dismissed the Congress president’s promise of ensuring a minimum income for the poor, saying “elections are round the corner, people will come out with all types of promises”.
Miffed over Gandhi’s allegation that Kumar had delivered empty promises to the people of Bihar like Modi did at the Centre, the chief minister said the Congress chief would have done well to take note of the high growth rate of the state and the massive improvement in agricultural productivity.
About Gandhi’s promise of granting central status to Patna University, Kumar said, “I raised the demand before Prime Minister Modi and it was not accepted. Somebody must have tipped off about the same to Congress president and prompted him to make this promise.”
“But this has been a long-standing demand. I have been raising it since the days I was an MP. Why did the Congress-led UPA not do the needful when it was in power,” Kumar, himself a graduate of the Patna University, asked.
On the resolution passed at the ‘Dharma Sansad’ in Kumbh where seers have declared commencement of Ram temple construction at Ayodhya from February 21, Kumar said “our party’s stand has always been clear”.
“The dispute should be resolved through a court order or through a consensus reached between the affected communities. There is no change in that,” he said.