Never thought of contesting for the President’s post: Nitish

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said that he had no thought of contesting the Presidential elections.

“I don’t know how such rumours come out in public. I never thought of contesting the election for the Presidential post,” he said while reaching Bhagalpur to restart the ‘Samaj Sudhar Abhiyan (Social Reforms Campaign)’.

The rumours regarding Nitish Kumar vying for the country’s top post came out after he met prominent political strategist Prashant Kishor in Delhi last week.

Sources have said that Nitish Kumar, during the meeting, reportedly gave his approval to contest the election, and Kishor was tasked with accumulating consensus from prominent leaders.

Kishor recently met Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao. Besides, he has also assured Nitish Kumar to get support of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

The tenure of present President Ram Nath Kovind is ending in July this year.

Meanwhile, HAM chief and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said he has no knowledge of such a development but gave Nitish Kumar his best wishes. “I wish him to achieve a bigger and bigger constitutional post of the country. My best wishes to him,” he said.

The RJD did not seem keen.

Party spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav said: “He was instrumental in pushing Ram Nath Kovind for the President’s post in 2017. The marketing and efforts of PR agencies have started now to project him as President. I have no doubt that the democracy of the country is under threat that such things would take place in the country.

RJD leader and party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder son, Tej Pratap Yadav said: “Nitish Kumar should focus on Bihar and address the situation of crime, unemployment, inflation and other issues of the state. First he should run the state smoothly and then think of the President’s post.”

A theory doing rounds in the state’s political circles is that Nitish Kumar and the top BJP leadership made a verbal pact, under which it will offer the President’s post to him and he will give the Bihar Chief Minister’s post to the BJP.

This gained ground in view of recent developments, especially when Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed Nitish Kumar a “great socialist leader of the country”.

With the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election underway and the ground reports not indicating impressive polling in favour of the BJP, the thinking is that if BJP would lose the battle of Uttar Pradesh, it could be extremely hard to sustain it in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. In that case, the BJP is thinking of getting power at least in Bihar to compensate for the loss of Uttar Pradesh.

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