Patna: A week after he resumed charge as Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar today addressed more than one lakh party workers at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, and had a single message for them – “Apologise to the people of Bihar”.
“I apologise to the people of Bihar, and to all of you again, for resigning as the Chief Minister and installing Mr (Jitan Ram) Manjhi. I will never repeat such a mistake,” said Mr Kumar. “It is your job as party workers to ensure my apology reaches every person in Bihar,” he added.
He made the statement referring to the weeks of political crisis in Bihar, events that took place in the last few weeks, when the then Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had refused to step down from office on instruction from his party. After weeks of posturing, Mr Manjhi had resigned just hours before he was to face a floor test in the Bihar Assembly.
The party workers’ meet in Patna was called by Mr Kumar’s party, the Janata Dal (United), as the first official meeting for the preparation of the coming Assembly Elections in the state, which are scheduled for November.
The BJP, a one-time ally of Mr Kumar, was the main target of the Chief Minister’s speech, which went on for over an hour.
Commenting on the BJP-PDP government that took oath in Jammu and Kashmir today, Mr Kumar made the party workers listen to an audio clip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who during an election rally in Jammu and Kashmir, had referred to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti as the “baap-beti duo the people of Kashmir needed to be wary of “.
“A government has been formed in Jammu and Kashmir, and I congratulate Mufti Sahab. He used to be an old ally. It took them 50 days to stitch together an alliance. But look at the BJP. They say something else, do something else,” said Mr Kumar.
Nitish Kumar also blamed the BJP for his party’s stand-off with Mr Manjhi in Bihar, and told his workers that the combined might of the JD(U), Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD and the Congress would prevent the BJP from taking power in the November elections, despite a victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.