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Tried my best to save grand alliance, but was left with no other choice: Nitish Kumar

NEW DELHI: In a verbal pat on the back to new ally BJP, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday that no person or political party has the ability to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general election.
“Given the current political scenario, no one can compete with Narendra Modi,” Nitish told mediapersons at a press conference.
Elaborating on what went on behind the scenes after the CBI filed a graft case and conducted raids on the Yadav’s properties, Nitish said he had tried to ignore the furor in the media. But soon fingers were pointed at him for not taking action against the accused.
He said he had tried to save the grand alliance but was forced to break away after RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family refused to come clean on the corruption allegations against them.
“I didn’t have a choice, I tolerated everything. But when the corruption allegations were made, it created a hubbub not only in the state but on a national level,” Nitish said at the press conference.
“The media was reporting a lot about the case but I tried to ignore that and continued working. I thought this happens in an alliance. Then, people started questioning, they have a zero tolerance policy for corruption, so what will they do now?” said Nitish.
The JD(U) chief then revealed that the JD(U) had unanimously decided at a high-level meeting not to break away from their policy and offered RJD leaders Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi the chance to put forth all facts about the corruption case in the public domain. He said he’d met with Tejashwi and talked to him about the same.
But when no explanation was forthcoming and the RJD defiantly rejected calls for to Tejashwi step down, Nitish said he decided to resign from the chief minister’s office.
“I had asked to explain the corruption allegations and had they done that, the situation could have been different. The proposal came from BJP after my resignation and we formed the government with the consensus of both parties’ legislators,” he said.
Last Thursday, Nitish Kumar had taken oath as chief minister with support from the BJP, barely 24 hours after resigning from the post and quitting the grand alliance comprising JD(U), RJD and the Congress. The rapid sequence of events, capped off by Nitish’s return to the NDA fold, had led to speculation that this bit of political maneuvering had been quiet some time in the making.
Responding to the RJD’s charges that he’d betrayed the mandate of the people of Bihar by joining up with “communal forces”, Nitish said, “I don’t need any certificate from anybody on secularism. They (RJD) were amassing personal wealth under the guise of secularism.”

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