Nitish Kumar threatens to quit after NDA criticism


Patna : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reportedly threatened to quit after legislators of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) questioned his style of functioning and criticised his agenda of good governance.

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Kumar, peeved at the charges levelled against him, threatened to resign Thursday night at a meeting called to discuss the strategy to be adopted by the government during the four-day monsoon session of the state assembly that began Thursday, a senior leader of the ruling NDA told IANS Friday.

The chief minister was so upset over the remarks by the legislators, comprising Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members, that he told them he was ready to pack his bags and leave his official residence at 1 Anne Marg.

In political circles here, it is being seen as the first sign of revolt against Kumar by legislators of the ruling combine since he came to power in November 2005.

The senior NDA leader said, what shocked the chief minister was that the legislators were not ready to listen to him.

“I do not have any lust for the chief minister’s post. I can quit any time,” a senior BJP leader quoted him as saying.

Kumar’s comments at the meeting of the NDA legislators is being seen as a ploy to put pressure on the legislators.

A JD(U) leader said soon after the start of the meeting that NDA legislators raised their voices against Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi. The legislators complained that they had become objects of scorn and ridicule in the government.

“We have no respect and have been treated badly and sometimes humiliated by officials,” a legislator told Kumar.

It was followed by a heated exchange of words when an angry chief minister told them that he would not compromise on his style of functioning and his agenda of good governance.

BJP legislator Bhola Prasad Singh alleged that the chief minister was behaving like a bureaucrat and not a politician. “You can be the chief secretary, not the chief minister,” Singh reportedly told Kumar.

Other NDA legislators cited instances of ill treatment by police and government officials. Some legislators alleged that at least two legislators – Sashi Kumar Rai and Renu Devi – were detained for daring to overtake the vehicle of a superintendent of police.

Sources said resentment was brewing among the BJP legislators because of the delay in cabinet expansion and the alleged highhandedness of bureaucrats.

A BJP legislator alleged the state government was not run by the elected representatives but by bureaucrats. “The legislators have no say in the government,” a BJP leader said.

Singh also raised the issue of bureaucrats holding the ‘janata darbar’ instead of the deputy chief minister in the absence of the chief minister.