Patna: “Nitish Kumar is prime minister material but he is not a PM candidate”, JD(U) Spokesperson K C Tyagi said on Sunday (August 29) while addressing the media on the side lines of the party National council meeting here.
The statement has given rise to speculations whether Nitish Kumar is nurturing ambitions to be the PM face of the so called third front?
K C Tyagi did try to put to rest the speculations by saying that the JDU was the most trusted alliance partner of the BJP and that the two parties are headed towards any confrontation.
Yet the statement that Nitish is a PM material does give desired credence to speculations.
After the Council Meet K C Tyagi also demanded the need for a coordination committee within the NDA which would help a smooth functioning of the government and considerably help in keeping out the differences.
Of late the acrimony between the two alliance partners JDU and BJP is on the rise.
The central leadership of the BJP was not obviously very happy when Nitish demanded a probe into the Pegasus row and subsequently led a delegation of 10 parties to meet the PM to press forth the demand for a caste based census in the state.
Several top BJP leaders including Giriraj Singh and CP Thakur reacted sharply to the demand for a caste based census.
The fact that leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav shared the platform with arch rival Nitish Kumar on the issue of caste based census also did not go down well with the BJP.
Much earlier during 2014 Lok Sabha elections Nitish had nurtured similar ambitions of being a possible PM candidate.
The debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections proved a dampner to his larger ambitions to the extent that he even tried playing the moral high ground and relinquished the CM chair and made Jeetan Ram Manjhi the CM.
The national Council of the JDU comes at a time when it’s believed that the party has got divided in three separate camps after the elevation of R C P Singh as a cabinet minister.
Political analyst Prof Ajay Jha while talking to India Ahead said, “Ambivalence on the part of Nitish is a well thought of strategy. He knows it well that his ambitions of becoming a PM which he has been nurturing since 2004 itself will not work while in the NDA and as such he wants his options open”.
JDU knows it well that Nitish can become an acceptable face for the PM for a possible third front but at the same time the JDU does not want to alienate itself from the BJP.
“This is a way of telling the opposition camp that I am available as an option as PM face, ” said Professor Naval Choudhary, a political analyst.
He added that “posturing appears to be the main objective behind such statements and also as a tactics to build pressure on the BJP. Nitish Kumar may be thinking that he can fill the gap which is there in the opposition as an acceptable PM candidate as compared to Modi.”