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Nitish on front foot

- Chief minister says JD(U) an integral part of NDA; Choubey embarrassed in House

Patna, March 12: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today admitted that talks about a third front were in the initial stages but he was quick to say that the JD(U) was very much a part of the NDA.

“Let it take shape. The JD(U) remains an integral part of the NDA,” he said, while speaking to reporters at the Assembly. Nitish has so far denied that he has had talks with any other chief minister like Naveen Patnaik of Odisha and his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee on the formation of the third front. However, JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav has spoken in approval of the formation of a third front.

Nitish said after elections in five states, the UPA government at the Centre has become weak. “But it continues to function arrogantly,” he added. The chief minister also said he was always ready to face a mid-term election. “My government performs and I always remain with the people. Only those parties, which have no faith in their support base, are worried about a mid-term poll,” Nitish said.

He added that the Congress-led government at the Centre would try to avoid a mid-term poll and make a big bid to complete the term with the help of other parties.

The just-concluded UP election results led to a war of words between the Congress and the JD(U). Energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav had remarked about the poor showing of the Congress in the UP. To this, the leader of the Congress in the Assembly, Sadanand Singh, retaliated by stating that “the JD(U) should first see its own performance, as it has failed to win a single constituency in UP and seats of the BJP have declined too”.