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Nitish supports Lokpal bill

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday supported the Lokpal bill, a day before the Union government might face opposition from the Samajwadi Party on its passage in the Rajya Sabha.

“We welcome the Lokpal bill. We had passed a strong Lokpal legislation in Bihar,” Nitish told reporters at the janata durbar.

The RJD and the LJP have also extended their support to the bill.

Refusing to comment on Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s statement that the “weak” bill “will not be able to send even a mouse to jail”, Nitish said: “It’s not necessary for me to react on everyone’s comment.”

Claiming that some leaders were not raising the issues being faced by the country at present, he said: “The talks should be on solving the substantive issues. There should be discussions on the social and economic policies, which can solve the problem of poverty. What should be the foreign policy, what kind of relation we should have with the neighbouring countries, how to reclaim the land under the control of Pakistan and China should be our concern.”

Attacking the BJP for allegedly highlighting religious issues, he said: “One cannot bring unity in the nation by bringing to the fore issues based on religions and castes. One should talk on how to uplift poor states like Bihar. Show-off talks cannot address the issue of unity.”

The chief minister took a dig at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi without naming him when asked to comment on the BJP’s Run for Unity. Nitish said: “After 60 years, people are remembering Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Lord Ram. Stoking sentiments will not help in any way.”

Reacting to the chief minister’s statement, his former deputy and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said Nitish was opposing the Run for Unity because of his personal jealousy. “I shall appeal to the chief minister and the other leaders of the JD(U) to think beyond the politics and help in installing the statue of Patel.”

To mark the death anniversary of the nation’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the BJP organised the run for unity across the country. It was a part of the drive to galvanise support for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s project to install a statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat.

Re-poll suggestion

Nitish suggested that fresh elections could only end the deadlock over the government formation in Delhi. Bihar faced a similar situation in 2005.

He refused to comment on the chances of Congress naming Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate, saying it was the internal matter of another party.