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Nitish takes never-with-BJP vow

Patna, Feb. 18: Nitish Kumar today took a pledge to never be in the company of the BJP.

The chief minister made the resolution in the Assembly, virtually ruling out the possibility of any post-Lok Sabha poll alliance between the JD(U) and the BJP. “Mitti mein mil jeyenge lekin dubara BJP ke saath nahin jayengein (I will prefer to be smashed into smithereens rather than striking friendship with the BJP again),” he said in the House, during a debate on the thanksgiving motion to Governor D.Y. Patil for his address to the joint session of the House on Friday.

Asking the BJP to clarify its relationship with the industrialist figuring in the Aam Aadmi Party’s list of corrupt people, Nitish said his old ally (read BJP) was living in the “make-believe world”. He said: “The party (BJP) stands to gain nothing in Bihar, which has the age-old tradition of secularism and communal harmony. The people here will not respond to your (BJP’s) efforts to foment social disharmony and communal divide.”

Replying to the allegation of the Leader of the Opposition, Nand Kishore Yadav, that Nitish had “ditched” the BJP, the chief minister said: “You all know that I had no differences whatsoever with the state BJP. You all worked well with us. Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi was a witness to the assurance from Nitin Gadkari that the BJP would not project the man (read Narendra Modi) I had reservations against as the prime ministerial candidate. But the BJP deviated from its promise, forcing us to part ways.”

Referring to Nand Kishore’s demand that he (Nitish) should make the content of former minister Parveen Amanullah’s resignation letter public, Nitish said: “It is better you ask her (Parveen) about the content. She asked me to liberate her, which I did. But she has joined the AAP, which has charged an industrialist with corruption. You (BJP) should clarify your stand on what her (Parveen’s) party has raised rather than getting into the content of her resignation letter”.

Interrupting Nitish, Nand Kishore accused him of “betraying” the 2010 mandate and taking recourse to “jugaad (manipulation)” technology to stay afloat in power after dumping the BJP.

The RJD legislature party leader, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, alleged that the JD(U) and the BJP were quarrelling like “husband and wife”, oblivious to the fact that they should use the floor of the House to discuss the issues of the state and led the walkout of his party members.

Later, the BJP also staged walkout, describing the chief minister’s reply as “unsatisfactory”.

Nitish, however, refuted the charges of corruption, deteriorating law and order situation and deficit in governance levelled on the government by Nand Kishore in his speech yesterday.

“Continuing with its commitment for zero tolerance against corruption, the government has confiscated the property of four corrupt public servants and started schools in them. The process was underway to confiscate the property of 40 more corrupt public servants. As many as 126 corrupt officials have been dismissed in the past six years,” Nitish said. “Make a mention of any other state, which has launched a campaign against corruption the way Bihar has,” he said.

On the charges of deteriorating law and order situation, Nitish said the state had registered 20 to 50 per cent decline in dacoity, theft, robbery, abduction for ransom and loot during the past seven-eight years.