BJP should not project leaders who can't expand alliance: Nitish Kumar

Nitish KumarBihar CM Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

Dismissing charges of being an opportunist and of betraying the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said JD(U) quit NDA as the saffron party did not keep its word about putting on hold contentious issues and not projecting leaders who cannot expand the coalition.

"We did not betray the BJP. Charges that I am an opportunist are baseless. We joined NDA only after assurance that contentious issues like Ram temple, non-imposition of Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code will be put on hold," Kumar said in an interview to a TV channel.

Kumar maintained that JD(U) had made it clear to BJP that it should not project leaders "who cannot expand the alliance".

"In Bihar, we had asked BJP to keep external factors out," he added.

Without naming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whose appointment as head of BJP's Election Campaign Committee had triggered JD(U)'s move to walk out of the NDA, Kumar said the "atmospherics" created around elevation raises several questions.

"We had conveyed our apprehensions to the BJP. We had told BJP not to name a leader without consulting allies. The new BJP model cannot carry everyone along. BJP has deviated and taken a different position," Kumar said.

Debunking the Gujarat model, the Bihar Chief Minister said one model cannot work for entire India.

"There are different growth models for different states. We developed Bihar which was underdeveloped. Growth should not be of corporates but of underprivileged," Kumar said, taking a dig at Modi under whose chief ministership some big business houses have prospered in Gujarat.

He praised Vajpayee for carrying all allies together.

Kumar firmly said JD(U) has always been opposed to Hindutva.

He ruled out having any ambitions of becoming the Prime Minister.

Kumar further said that tie-ups are likely before the Lok Sabha polls as this is the era of coalitions. He also maintained that elections are still a long way off.

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