Nitish Kumar on Monday expressed his gratitude towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making “accurate” observations about dynasty politics while calling the Bihar chief minister a shining example of those who bucked the trend.
The veteran socialist leader was asked about PM Modi’s remarks in an interview last week where the prime minister deplored the dominance of families in political parties, including those claiming adherence to the philosophy of ‘samajwad’ – an obvious reference to Samajwadi Party in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and the RJD, the principal opposition party, in Bihar.
PM Modi had said late Ram Manohar Lohia and George Fernandes, besides “our ally Nitish babu,” stood out as “samajwadis” who did not succumb to the lure of setting up their own political dynasties.
The Bihar chief minister recalled having looked up to Ram Manohar Lohia and his long personal association with George Fernandes and remarked “what PM has said is very right and accurate – promoting one’s own family at the expense of dedicated political workers is not socialism. For me, the entire state of Bihar is like my family”.
Mr Kumar, who is the de facto leader of the JD(U), also took a veiled dig at his arch rival Lalu Prasad, the RJD chief, who controls his party with the help of wife Rabri Devi and three children, as he suffers from multiple ailments.
“You have attained something by dint of your hard work, which is fine. But once you start appointing your wife in your place, foisting your son on the party, you have taken a perilous course,” said Mr Kumar without taking any names.
Incidentally, Mr Prasad was succeeded by Rabri Devi as the chief minister of Bihar. His younger son Tejashwi Yadav is the leader of the opposition and RJD’s heir apparent.
Mr Kumar insisted that promoting a dynasty was detrimental to any political party in the long run and said “in many places, such parties have begun to lose steam”.
“It is the prime minister’s kripa (kindness) to have spoken on this matter,” said a visibly pleased Mr Kumar.
Notably, in 2015, having severed ties with the BJP, Kumar forged an alliance with RJD and the Congress.
The “Mahagathbandhan” that came into being won the assembly polls hands down and Kumar returned as the chief minister.
He, however, had to contend with Tejashwi as his deputy and maverick elder son of Prasad, Tej Pratap Yadav, as a member of his cabinet.
After Tejashwi Yadav’s got embroiled in a money laundering case, Mr Kumar decided that he has had enough and returned to the BJP-led NDA.