Speaking in favour of his motion of confidence during the post-lunch session in the state assembly, Nitish said, “Leaders of different political parties from across the country called me and congratulated me on the new decision and I urged all of them to contest together the 2024 elections.”
At the same time, the CM asserted that he had no ‘personal ambitions’ of becoming the prime ministerial candidate, rejecting the former ally BJP’s allegation that Nitish dumped the BJP because he wanted to become the opposition’s prime ministerial face in 2024. “Those people who say that I have pulled out of the NDA because I want to become ‘something’, I don’t want to become ‘anything,” Nitish said.
The Bihar CM also recalled his old association with the BJP and underscored the contrast between the current dispensation and the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. Making a veiled attack on PM Narendra Modi, Nitish said, “Is there any work being done by Delhi (the BJP-led NDA government)? Only advertisements are being done by them.”
When BJP members protested the CM’s veiled remarks against the Centre, Nitish told the saffron party MLAs to speak more against him because “louder you speak against me, you will earn the goodwill of your top leaders and you may be awarded with some key posts in the organisation.”
Speaking extempore, Nitish also recalled the humiliation he felt when his request for granting central university status to the Patna University was not accepted by the Prime Minister Modi in full public glare. “It was in sharp contrast with the previous era in the BJP when Murli Manohar Joshi, the then Union HRD minister, had readily accepted that my alma mater, the Patna-based Bihar College of Engineering, be upgraded as the National Institute of Technology (NIT),” the CM recalled.
Referring to the formation of NDA government in 2020, Nitish said after the 2020 assembly polls, when he was urged by the BJP to continue as CM, he felt disappointed after his many old friends and senior BJP leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi, Prem Kumar, Nand Kishore Yadav and Vinod Narayan Jha were dropped from the cabinet. “Only two former ministers were asked to join the new cabinet,” he said. “Despite all this, I did not say anything since it was an internal matter of their party,” the CM said.