NEW DELHI: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who has played a key role in bringing together opposition parties under the banner of INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), has finally reacted to the proposal made by some leaders of projecting Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge as the bloc’s prime ministerial face.
“I felt no disappointment (maayusi) …no resentment (naaraazgi)”, asserted Kumar when journalists sought his reaction on the proposal to name Kharge.
“At the meeting the issue (of naming a leader came up). I made it clear at the outset that I was not interested. Then another name was proposed, I said it was okay with me”, said the Bihar CM.
It was West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who proposed the name of Kharge as the leader of the opposition bloc.
However, Kharge has played down the move and has urged the INDIA parties to keep the issue of prime ministerial face on the backburner. The Congress president has said that the INDIA coalition first needed to win adequate number of Lok Sabha seats and then decide on who would be the leader.
But Nitish Kumar did admit that he had stressed at the meeting on the need to expedite seat-sharing arrangements.
“Yes I said that seat sharing should be finalised at the earliest. I had expressed the view on earlier occasions as well. I am confident that it will be done in good time across all states,” the JD(U) leader said.
The detractors of Nitish Kumar in the BJP-led NDA have latched on to the development to take a swipe at the Bihar chief minister, who is considered one of the frontrunners to lead the opposition bloc.
Nitish Kumar, who was once an ally of the BJP, is now one of the strongest critics of the saffron party and its leadership. After breaking ties with the BJP, Nitish, along with RJD leader and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav, worked on a mission mode to unite all the opposition parties. He was instrumental in organising the first meeting of the alliance partners in Patna.
The leaders of Nitish Kumar’s party JD(U)are not happy with the development. JD(U) MLA Gopal Mandal reacted strongly to Kharge’s name and said no one knew the Congress president. The Bihar MLA said that Nitish Kumar had played a key role in forming the INDIA bloc hence only he should be the opposition’s prime minister face.
The INDIA bloc has finally got into action once again after a long period of lull during the assembly elections, largely due to the Congress’s reluctance to take things forward. The assembly elections also saw bitter war of words between the opposition allies over seat sharing. It remains to be seen how the alliance partners come to an agreement on the leadership issue.

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