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Nitish “offered to quit” at NDA meet

Saturday 14 July 2007, by BALCHAND*K.

PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday remained tight-lipped on the proceedings at the combined legislative meeting of the NDA on Thursday where, confronted by a series of attacks from the JD(U) and BJP members, he reportedly held out the threat of quitting. Internal matter

Much of the developments leaked through the members with no official briefing. On Friday morning, Mr. Kumar maintained that he would neither deny nor confirm it. He took the stand that it was an internal matter.

According to reports, the Chief Minister had said that he would have no qualms about demitting office. “I won’t take more than four hours to pack off from my official residence.

Asked if he had lost his cool in the wake of condemnation of his style of functioning, Mr. Kumar said that only once had he given into emotion and resigned as Railway Minister after the Ghaisal disaster.

The Chief Minister, however, underscored the legislators’ right to freely express their resentment but said the common man was in distress. His first priority was to redress the common man’s grievances. He remained non-committal on the issue of expansion of his Cabinet.

The customary joint meeting of legislators of the JD(U) and BJP is held during every session. The last meeting in February was no less acrimonious, but Mr. Kumar was not present on that occasion.

The BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley was also present in preparation for the crucial presidential election, for which the NDA has backed the candidature of Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

Senior BJP leader Bhola Prasad Singh set the tone by speaking for the legislators, charging that they felt slighted by the Chief Minister. According to reports when Mr. Kumar remained unmoved, Mr. Singh said, “You are fit to be a Chief Secretary but not a Chief Minister.

See online : The Hindu

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