Patna: Nitish Kumar says JD(U) never eyed ministerial berths, terms hype over party joining Cabinet ‘baseless’. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the issue of his party JD(U) joining the union cabinet had been “media speculation”.
“We neither considered the issue nor we had any desire or expectation (to join the union cabinet). The issue was being speculated in media. It was baseless and unfounded,” Kumar, also JD(U) president, told reporters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday carried out a cabinet reshuffle involving only ministers from BJP.
Speculation was rife that the two MPs of JD(U), which has recently joined NDA after severing ties with ruling grand alliance in Bihar, may join the cabinet in the reshuffle.
“Your (media) speculation has been proved wrong and you should close the chapter,” Kumar added.
Kumar also took a dig at the media about his former Mahagathbandhan ally, saying that Lalu Prasad Yadav “is the darling of media”, as he would get more space than any other leader. Lalu Prasad Yadav had on Saturday taunted the non-induction of JD(U)’s MPs in the new Narendra Modi ministry. He said, “Modi ne Nitish Kumar ko thenga dhika diya (cocked a snook at Nitish Kumar).
Last Saturday, Kumar had said that the JD(U) was yet to get any invitation to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA government. “We have learnt about the JD-U’s entry into the union council of ministers through the media. We have not received any proposal so far,” he had said. He had said there was no talk between his party and BJP about JD(U) joining the union cabinet.
The JD(U) has only two Lok Sabha members from Bihar. In 2013, it had broken its 17-year-old alliance with the BJP and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls against the BJP and was routed due to the Modi wave then. The JD(U) faction led by Nitish had then on 19 August joined the NDA at the party’s national executive meeting in Patna.
To a question on when the party would take action against rebel leader Sharad Yadav, Kumar said, “We will let you know at an appropriate time. But till then, don’t speculate.”