The Telegraph
Friday , March 22 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Time ripe for polls, says Nitish

Patna, March 21: Coming down heavily on the Centre a day after a chance meeting between JD(U) president Sharad Yadav and Congress leader Ahmad Patel triggered off speculation about growing closeness between the Dal and the Congress, chief minister Nitish Kumar today said the present situation in the country was ideally suited for a snap poll.

Reacting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reported unawareness about the CBI raid carried out on the premises of Stalin, the son of DMK chief M. Karunanidhi , Nitish said: “Just see how the government in power at the Centre is functioning. It is better for the country to go for a mid-term poll. But the Congress knows how to remain in power.”

He said there was total chaos at the Centre. “Parliament is not functioning. The allies of the UPA are withdrawing support. A Union cabinet minister is hurling abuses at an ally’s leader. The UPA chairperson is apologising to that leader,” he said, stressing that it would have been better if the country went for a fresh mandate.

Incidentally, the chief minister had on Tuesday said that the DMK’s withdrawal of support to the UPA government would not have any impact on the tenure of the government because the Congress knew how to stick to the power. On the same day in the Assembly he had declared that the JD(U)-BJP alliance was strong. But in the same breath he said he did not know what would happen in the future.

The chief minister’s Adhikar Rally in New Delhi on Sunday demanding special status to Bihar and his subsequent meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union finance minister P. Chidambaram had given impetus to the perception that Nitish was trying to distance himself from the BJP in the wake of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi being virtually projected as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP.

In Patna, MLAs of both the JD(U) and the BJP are worried over the recent developments. Some of them maintained that the snap of ties might adversely hit both the parties in polls.

“After the chief mister’s statement today, it seems he would not be officially linked with the Congress, at least till the next Lok Sabha polls,” said a senior JD(U) leader. The NDA MLAs stated that the JD(U)-BJP alliance would continue for at least another six months, at least till Modi becomes the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate officially.