Patna : Three days after he dumped the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday proved his majority in the legislature and said his former ally won’t win the next Lok Sabha battle.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to promote divisive politics, he said the policies of consultation which it believed in under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s leadership had ended.
In a speech in the assembly during a trust motion he moved to prove his majority, Nitish Kumar said India was built on secular foundations and his party won’t tolerate anyone trying to cause a religious divide.
“The country should be run in a manner so as to take everyone along… Coalition governments are the norm now. No party should be under the false premise that they can run the country on their own steam,” he said.
Referring to the now ailing Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was prime minister from 1998 to 2004, he said: “The work ethics of Atalji was based on how to take everyone along, based on consultations… But now it has changed.”
Nitish Kumar sailed through with 126 votes in his favour after 91 BJP members and a Lok Janshakti Party legislator walked out of the 243-member house before the voting.
The Congress, which has four members, voted for him. This triggered accusation from the BJP that Nitish Kumar — described as a secular person by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — had joined hands with the Congress.
“JD-U has shown its colour by participating in the Congress conspiracy,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said. “They are now bound to Congress with the glue of corruption.”
Criticising the BJP, with which his party split last week after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was made the party’s election campaign chief, Nitish Kumar said the BJP’s dream of ruling India would be shattered.
He said the BJP had no chance of winning the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
“Even if we remained with them, notching up 200 seats would be difficult… Don’t be under the illusion that you can do it alone. This is the time of coalitions,” he said.
Taking an apparent dig at Modi’s Gujarat model of development, Nitish Kumar said: “What vikas (development) model is this where you improve (the condition of) areas that are already good?
“What kind of improvement is it?”
He said the BJP had benefited by aligning with his Janata Dal-United (JD-U).
“We will not tolerate thopna (imposition of views). We are for the policy of taking everyone along and against divisive policies,” he asserted.
In the house Wednesday, Nitish Kumar got the support of JD-U’s 117 legislators, four Independents and Congress members each and the Communist Party of India legislator. One JD-U member is in jail.
On its part, the Congress said it voted for the JD-U government to “keep communal BJP at bay” and endorsed Manmohan Singh’s opinion of Nitish Kumar as a secular person.
“We do not expect anything in return,” the Congress said.
Those who voted against Nitish Kumar included 22 members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and two independents.
Soon after the JD-U ended its 17-year-old alliance with the BJP Sunday, Nitish Kumar said he would seek a vote of confidence at a special session of the assembly Wednesday.
Nitish Kumar called off the alliance and his colleague Sharad Yadav quit as convenor of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance following mounting differences with the BJP over the growing clout of Modi.