JD-U says ‘Nitish is PM material,’ seeks NDA coordination panels

The Nitish Kumar-led party in its national council meet says Bihar CM has all the qualities of a PM

Nitish Kumar
The JD-U says it will keep up its demand for a caste census and that its awaiting a positive response from the PM. File Photo

The Nitish Kumar-led JD(U), a BJP ally in Bihar as well as at the Centre, appears to have upped the ante days after going ahead with its caste census demand in the face of BJP opposition. The JD(U) has now demanded coordination panels at the state and central levels to discuss issues on which the two sides differ.

On the Pegasus spyware issue, Nitish has already demanded an inquiry.

The party on Sunday (August 29) passed a resolution at its national council meeting that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has “all the qualities” that a Prime Minister should have.

JD(U) principal general secretary and national spokesperson K.C. Tyagi said: “We had an NDA coordination committee during the AB Vajpayee government. We’d like a similar committee now to discuss several issues we differ on. It would help in smooth functioning of the alliance and discourage unwarranted comments.”

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Also read: Caste-based census: Bihar delegation meets Modi; PM non-committal

Speaking to The Indian Express, Tyagi said: “We have also passed a resolution at the party’s national council that Nitish Kumar might not be in the PM race but has all the qualities that a PM should have.”

On the need for such a resolution, Tyagi said: “There have often been insinuations from some quarters (on Nitish Kumar’s prime ministerial chances), and we wanted to keep the record straight”.

The JD(U) leader said the party would keep up its demand for a caste census. “We are waiting for a positive response from the PM,” he said.

Also read: Snooping scandal on fire: Sack Shah, says Cong; Nitish terms ‘dirty act’

The BJP was cautious in its response. Bihar Deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad said: “We support it because it will help us coordinate on various issues,” he said.

On August 23, Nitish Kumar had led a 10-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Modi on the caste census issue. Earlier, the Chief Minister had demanded a probe into allegations of surveillance of phones using the Pegasus spyware.

The BJP is wary of taking any step regarding a caste census, especially with the UP elections around the corner. On July 20, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had said: “The government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in the census.”

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