Patna, March 28: Agriculture minister Narendra Singh changed track two days after embarrassing chief minister Nitish Kumar at a public function in Jamui.
In the presence of the chief minister, Narendra had on Wednesday said if he wanted he could make Bihar Assembly Speaker and JD(U) candidate from Jamui, Uday Narayan Chaudhary, lose his deposit in the polls. On Friday, Narendra heaped praised on Nitish and claimed he had it in him to be prime minister.
Addressing the media at the party office, Narendra focused on attacking BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and praising the chief minister. “Narendra Modi does not have any economic or agriculture policy. Neither does he have any strong plan to deal with corruption. The BJP has forgotten veteran leaders like Ataj Bihari Vajpayee, Syamaprasad Mookerjea and Deendayal Upadhyaya and is busy projecting murderer Narendra Modi, responsible for the loss of several lives after the Godhra episode,” Narendra said.
He also said the BJP was spending heavily to make Modi’s rallies a success. “Rs 50 crore is being spent at every stage. Corporates are backing the party. But I must tell you that neither a BJP nor a Congress candidate will become prime minister. It would be someone from the third front and I am sure Nitish Kumar is fit as he has the talent,” said Narendra.
Narendra’s change in behaviour did not come by easily. Sources in the JD(U) said the party has agreed to pick a candidate suggested by Narendra for the Sheohar Lok Sabha seat, earlier offered to Sabir Ali, who has now joined the BJP.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior JD(U) leader said: “Narendra Sigh has suggested three names — minority welfare minister Shahid Ali Khan, former MLA Rana Ratnakar and JD(U) leader Rana Randhir Singh — for the Sheohar seat. It is for sure that the Seohar candidate would be chosen from these names.”
Narendra has already said he was pained by the manner in which the party leadership was distributing Lok Sabha poll tickets without any consultation. Asked if he regretted having embarrassed the chief minister, Narendra said: “Why should I regret my comment? I said the right thing and I never comment behind anyone’s back. Whatever I feel is incorrect, I say on the person’s face. Narendra Singh is not scared of anyone. Narendra Singh has the power to form and to bring down the government. Despite all this, I must say Nitish Kumar is a most efficient and talented politician. I never protested against him, I just showed him the right direction.”
JD(U) state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh on Friday said the party would formally announce the Sheohar candidate on Saturday.