3:03 pm - Thursday August 23, 1534

Not in the race for PM’s post in 2019: Nitish Kumar

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Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar today emphatically said that he was not in the race for the Prime Minister’s post in 2019.

“I am unnecessarily being targeted. We are a small party. I am not a fool… If I become the national president of my party, it does not mean that I harbour national aspiration (of becoming the PM),” Mr Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of “Lok Samvad” programme in Patna.

Stating that he believed in working for the people, Mr Kumar said he has served the people throughout his political career – be it as MP, Union minister and now as the Chief Minister.

Asked whether he has the capability to lead a non-BJP alternative, Mr Kumar said, “I neither have any aspiration nor the ability to become the PM.”

The JD(U) president, who was flanked by ministers and party leaders during interaction with the media, said that it was difficult to say as to who will emerge as the PM candidate in 2019.

“It sounds weird… I am not the claimant for the Prime Minister’s post in 2019 (general elections),” he said.

“The person in whom people will see potential will become the Prime Minister. People saw potential in Narendra Modi during last elections, he has become the PM,” Kumar said adding that Modi, then the Gujarat Chief Minister was not even in the frame to become the PM five years ago.

On his party having a view divergent to his ally Rashtriya Janata Dal on the sanctity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), Mr Kumar said that there cannot be one view of all parties.

“We had a different take on demonetisation. Similarly, we are of the view that elections should be held with EVMs. But all apprehensions with regard to voting machines must be removed,” he said.

With regard to a query that alcohol bottles seized during the anti-liqour drive have been drained in the river Ganges, Mr Kumar feigned ignorance about such incidents.

“I don’t have any such information that liquor has been drained in the holy river. The seized liquor has to be destroyed. It cannot be drained in the river,” he said, adding that his government will not tolerate it if any river, specially the Ganges, was polluted by any means.

On the arrest of the relative of a JD(U) youth wing office-bearer, Mr Kumar said that the development was not any embarrassment to him or the party as he was of the view that anyone found to be violating the law must be punished.

“It (action against JD(U) youth wing functionary’s relative) established the fact that the government machinery will act without any prejudice, howsoever high he/she may be,” he said.

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