The Bihar Post

Will Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar be opposition candidate for Presidential polls?

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PATNA—Will Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar be the Opposition candidate for the next Presidential elections likely to take place in June-July this year?

Although Kumar himself denied such reports yet what has triggered such debate is the way Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao has gone on the overdrive to bring the scattered opposition on one platform in the aftermath of his secret meeting with Kumar’s former poll strategist Prashant Kishor who later met Bihar CM in Delhi last week. Strangely, Kishor was expelled from the JD-U for “indiscipline” two years back.

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According to insiders, Kishor had a close door meeting with Telanaga CM in Hyderabad only this month. Although what transpired between them is not known but it was after this meeting that Rao went overactive to bring the opposition parties on one platform to provide a formidable political alternative to the masses ahead of the next LS polls scheduled in early 2024.

In the first step in this direction, Rao met Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and later NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Sunday. Rao has already held meeting with Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav last month and reports are that the RJD is not averse to projecting Kumar as the Presidential candidate.

The importance of this meeting could be underlined from the fact that the Telanaga CM sent a chartered flight to Patna to call Tejashwi to Hyderabad for the political discussion.

Sources said Rao now plans to bring Miss Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal too in his front. Reports are that Opposition parties have started working on this plan as the President is indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both the Houses of Parliament.

The entire story took a curious turn when Bihar CM had a secret meeting with Kishor on Friday during his visit to the national capital to attend the wedding functions in the families of BJP leaders, Bhupender Yadav and Sushil Kumar Modi. Kumar tried to reject it as a “courtesy meeting” but the meeting assumes much significance in the sense that he himself had expelled Kishor from the party for putting his different views in the media over the Citizenship Act and NRC.

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However, the offer comes with a price. Political experts say Kumar will have to first quit his throne and also snap his alliance with the BJP if he wishes to become Opposition candidate for Presidential polls while his term for chief minister ends on November 2025. And, again there is no guarantee that he will come out victorious. So the path is full of risks.

Maharashtra minister and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik today said any decision on the opposition’s candidate for the post of the country’s next President will be taken collectively by leaders of various parties, and Bihar CM’s name could be considered only if his party breaks alliance with the BJP.

The RJD which is the main opposition party in Bihar and is obviously Kumar’s arch rival said such kind of stories were being planted by the JD-U since the BJP is soon to remove him from CM’s post. It is worth mentioning here that the JD-U and the BJP are currently at loggerheads with each other over various issues, such as denial of special status to Bihar, caste census and population control.

“The RJD wishes him (Nitish Kumar) good luck in his mission but Prime Minister Narendra Modi will never allow him become country’s President the way he mocked the latter several times in the past,” RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari said.

The Congress said Kumar is a fit candidate for President’s post but any decision about supporting his candidature would be taken by the central leadership.

But, is Kumar himself interested to take up country’s top most job? “Ee sab ka to dimag me koi idea bhi nahin hain. Aisa to kalpna bhi nahin hai (This didn’t come in my mind ever).”

Courtesy: The Statesman

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