Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha on Wednesday indicated that the top post in Bihar may soon fall vacant and a new candidate will be required.
Kushwaha said, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reached a “saturation point in power and wants to step down”. He clarified that his remark doesn’t mean that he is asking for the resignation of the 67-year-old Chief Minister.
Addressing his party workers in Patna, Kushwaha said no one knows Nitish Kumar better than him. During one of their interactions, Nitish Kumar had told him that after being in power for 15 years, he doesn’t want to continue any longer, Kushwaha added.
“I am neither doing any politics nor I am making any satirical comment on the CM, but he (Nitish Kumar) has himself expressed his desire not to continue beyond 2020. I have ruled for 15 years. How long will I be the CM,” Kushwaha quoted Kumar as saying at a party event in Patna to mark Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary.
However, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar brushed aside Kushwaha’s claim and said Kumar is Chief Minister by “virtue of people’s mandate and legislators’ choice”.
The statement on Wednesday is seen as a last-ditch effort by the RLSP to bargain for more Lok Sabha seats in the state than it got for 2014 general elections.
Kumar and Kushwaha are BJP allies in Bihar, but their relationship has reached a new low as it became clear that Nitish Kumar would get as many seats as the BJP – at the cost of smaller allies.
Last week, after BJP president Amit Shah announced final seat-sharing formula and appealed to all allies to make sacrifices to accommodate a new partner, Kushwaha had said: “I respect his statement. We are ready for sacrifice. (But) all partners should share all benefits and losses. I understand that the alliance with the JD(U) has benefited the NDA. Then why can’t we share the benefits in Bihar?…Partnership should be equal in profit as well as loss.”
Kushwaha created a controversy after he met the opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav but said no politics was discussed.