Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday tore into Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, insisting continuing in the Grand Alliancewould have amounted to "compromising with corruption".
Having embraced the BJP after a four-year hiatus, Nitish claimed there would be"no challenge" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections.
He also said the proposal for a reunion had come from the "highest level" in the BJP which he accepted as "going got impossible" in the Grand Alliance due to accusations of corruption against his then deputy Tejashwi Yadav.
"There were corruption charges and cases were filed by the CBI (against Lalu Prasad and family). I had only told them to come out with proper answers. Instead, they made fun of me saying whether I was a CBI official or the police," he told a press conference.
"Lalujidid not give any clarification on corruption charges. How could I remain silent after having talked about zero tolerance to corruption? Now I have a feeling that they did not have a proper answer," Nitish said. Nitish, till recently seen as a potential challenger to Modi, said, "Nobody else (other than Modi) can occupy the PM's post. Now nobody has the strength to beat rpt beat Modi."
Asked about his future role in national politics, Nitish, also the JD(U) chief, said, "Ours is a small party which does not harbour big national aspirations."When asked about the possibility of JD(U) becoming part of NDA at the national level with ministers in the Modi government, Kumar said the JD(U) national executive will meet in Patna on August 19 and all such issues will be decided there.
He also hit back at RJD supremo LaluPrasad and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for criticising him forforging an alliance with "communal" BJP.
"Making huge money hiding behind the shield of secularism ...is this secularism? ... I needno certificate of secularism from anybody," he said, questioning Lalu'ssecularist credentials.
Highlighting his own commitment to secularism, he said his government had given compensation to the victimsof the Bhagalpur communal riots on par with those of the 1984 anti-Sikhriots."In Bihar,we did not break any party. Nitish had tendered his resignation as he had decided that he will not put up with corruption. Should we have toldhim with a gun to his temple that stay in that alliance?," Shah told a press conference.
Nitish also slammed Lalu over his claim that he made him the chief minister despite RJD having more MLAs. "He (Lalu) arrogantly says that he made me the CM ... The people of Bihar showed him his worth in 2010 (when RJD's strength was reduced to 22)," he said.Meanwhile, in a boost to the fledgling JD(U)-NDA alliance dispensation in Bihar, the Patna High Court today dismissed two PILs challenging the formation of a new government by Nitish Kumar, saying the court's intervention was no longer required after the floor test in the state Assembly. While one public interest litigation was filed by RJD MLAs Saroj Yadav and Chandan Verma, the other was by Jitendra Kumar, a Samajwadi Party member.
Nitish had comfortably won the confidence vote 131-108 on Friday.