INDIA bloc offered to make Nitish Kumar PM, says JDU leader K C Tyagi

Rubbishing the claim, opposition parties say the statement is aimed to bargain ministerial berths

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar was offered the prime ministerial post by the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc after the Lok Sabha election results were announced, JDU leader KC Tyagi claimed on June 8, a day before swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi.

Tyagi’s claims came amid speculation that the INDIA bloc is trying to get Nitish Kumar back into the alliance in a bid to stop Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from forming the government for a record third term.

“All the regional partners were in favour of making Nitish Kumar the convenor but in a conspiracy, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee recommended Mallikarjun Kharge’s name for the post of Prime Minister when it had been decided that there will be no PM face.

A senior Congress leader raised questions on Nitish Kumar becoming the convenor, facing such humiliation was not acceptable to our rank and file. We understood their intention and JDU broke off its relations with them and joined the NDA,” KC Tyagi said.

“After the elections, those leaders of INDI alliance who did not want Nitish Kumar to become the convenor offered him the post of Prime Minister. We have phone records attesting to this,” he claimed.

“I am happy that JDU leadership rejected them and Nitish Kumar endorsed the name of Narendra Modi as the new PM and all these rumours spread by them have come to an end. If any leader wants to know the name or wants to deny it, we have all the evidence,” Tyagi told ANI. When asked if the proposal came on June 4 after the Lok Sabha election results, he said “yes”.

This comes a day after newly elected MPs of the BJP-led NDA elected Modi as their leader, paving the way for him to take oath as the country’s PM for a record third term. As the NDA leaders gathered at Parliament to name Modi as the alliance’s leader, Bihar CM Nitish pledged his support, saying that he and his party would always be with the NDA government.

“All the pending works of Bihar will be done. It is a very good thing that all of us have come together and we will all work together with you (PM Modi). You will be swearing in as the Prime Minister on Sunday, but I wanted you to do it today itself. Whenever you take the oath, we will be with you…We will all work together under your leadership,” Nitish said during the parliamentary meeting.

What the Opposition said

When asked about the claim, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “I am not aware about it.”

Rubbishing the claim, RJD leader Mrityunjay Tiwari said the statement was made by the JDU just to bargain ministerial berths.

“Nitish Kumar has completely surrendered in front of the BJP. He had played a key role in the formation of the INDIA alliance. It is right that Nitish Kumar is a PM face, but the BJP always tries to finish off its allies. Nitish Kumar had once told Lalu Prasad Yadav that the BJP wants to finish off the JD(U). He is saying this to get two-three ministerial berths,” Tiwari said.

Congress leader KC Venugopal also did not accept the claim and said, “We don’t have any such information.”

Nitish Kumar’s JDU is in alliance with the BJP in the NDA and will be part of the new government which will take oath on Sunday.

Although both allies, BJP and JDU, secured an equal number of 12 seats in Bihar, Nitish’s party’s role is pivotal in the formation of the BJP-led government at the Centre.

Lok Sabha election results

The results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday (June 4) saw the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) win 293 seats, while the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) secured 232 seats.

Defying exit polls’ predictions, INDIA has emerged as a formidable multi-party coalition. The alliance was formed in a bid to project a unified front, encompassing various regional and national interests.

In 2023, a 26-party alliance was envisaged. Since then, Bihar’s Janata Dal (United) has left the alliance to join the NDA, while UP’s Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) ended up allying with Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Also, the All India Trinamool Congress or the TMC is now a nominal member of the bloc, as it did not engage in seat-sharing with the alliance partners for the elections.

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