Nitish Kumar’s 3-Word Reaction To Arvind Kejriwal’s Victory
PATNA: Nitish Kumar, asked for a reaction to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s mega victory today in the Delhi election, only said three words and walked off, hands folded over his head — “Janata maalik hai (public is boss)”. He was accosted by reporters after a function in memory of BJP icon Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, where he shared the stage with is deputy, the BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi.
His terse comment may not be pleasing to ally BJP, defeated after a high-voltage campaign starring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and the party’s top leaders. Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) contested two seats of Delhi’s 70 seats in alliance with the BJP but he campaigned in three seats. The JDU was tailing in both constituencies by huge margins.
This is the first time the BJP had accommodated smaller Bihar allies to take on Arvind Kejriwal and AAP in Delhi. At a rally with Amit Shah in Delhi, Nitish Kumar had targeted Mr Kejriwal sharply and said: “In Delhi, they only talk about free stuff but have not done any real development.”
The Bihar Chief Minister has one more reason to be less than enthusiastic about the Delhi result, even though it gives him a better bargaining chip to use against the BJP. Prashant Kishor, the close aide he sacked last month, is also a factor in the stupendous victory of AAP and its chief Arvind Kejriwal.
Prashant Kishor had warned Nitish Kumar against extending his Janata Dal United party’s alliance with the BJP beyond Bihar, in the Delhi election. Nitish Kumar did not react for several weeks. After an acrimonious public exchange, the chief minister expelled both Mr Kishor and another aide, Pavan Varma, who had outed private conversations in which he claimed Nitish Kumar had talked about feeling “humiliated” by the BJP.
It was a dramatic move for Nitish Kumar just months before elections in Bihar, especially as Mr Kishor had helped him win the previous assembly polls in 2015.A triumphant Mr Kishor tweeted today: “Thank you, Delhi for standing up to protect the soul of India.”
The Delhi result comes at a time Nitish Kumar has been said to explore his political options. In the run-up to the Bihar polls, speculation of a strain in ties prompted a rare declaration from Amit Shah – not once, but twice – that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would contest under Nitish Kumar’s leadership.
Sources say Mr Kumar had talks with Mamata Banerjee and Congress leaders over the past two years and that Mr Kishor has facilitated these.