A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment on “political groups getting together to save the corrupt”, Nitish Kumar’s retort featured Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who headed the BJP government in the past.
The Bihar Chief Minister also took a swipe at the ruling party over defections and government changes in different states.
PM Modi, on arriving last night in Kerala’s Kochi, said his government’s action against corruption had led to “new polarisation” in national politics. “To save these corrupt people, certain political groups are openly coming out and trying to get organised into a unit. People of India and Kerala have to be vigilant against such groups,” he said.
Opposition parties accuse the Centre of using probe agencies to target them and pressure their party leaders into switching sides to enable the collapse of opposition governments. The PM’s comments were seen to be aimed specifically at Nitish Kumar, who recently ditched the BJP and formed a new government in Bihar with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD and other opposition parties.
@narendramodi ने कहा कि भ्रष्टाचार के ख़िलाफ़ उनकी मुहिम के कारण एक नयी राजनीतिक गोलबंदी हो रही हैं इस पर @NitishKumar ने उनका जवाब दिया @ndtv @ndtvindia pic.twitter.com/qR04UjlpE1
— manish (@manishndtv) September 2, 2022
“Why would anyone protect the corrupt? They way they engineer defections, why don’t they talk about that? We never tolerated the corrupt for so long in Bihar,” Nitish Kumar told reporters today.
“They can say whatever they want to. I don’t have to respond,” he said.
“I have nothing to say. And he’s the Prime Minister, he can go anywhere… but we know who’s in Kerala,” he added, citing the Left front government.
Mr Kumar also referenced former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as he took on PM Modi without naming him.
“When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in power, I had the opportunity to work with him. The way he took care of everybody… In Bihar too I got the chance to work for so many years. People at the Centre can keep talking, I don’t really bother,” the Chief Minister said.
PM Modi made the comments on a day Nitish Kumar was in the news over his meeting with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao or KCR, who is on a mission to gather “anti-BJP forces” ahead of the 2024 national election.