Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday asserted that he attached “no importance” to his administration’s uncharitable assessment by Prashant Kishor, who has taken the political plunge giving up his earlier role of a backroom operator for other players.
Kumar was asked by journalists about the remarks of Kishor, popularly known as PK, who on the previous day here launched “Jan Suraaj”, a campaign aimed at providing a political alternative in the state which might, at a later stage, evolve into a party fighting elections.
“I give no importance to whatever somebody says. It is for you journalists to decide whether or not my administration has been able to meet expectations,” said Kumar with a smirk.
Kishor had contended that Kumar’s administration had brought in economic growth but did not succeed in propelling Bihar for a great leap forward, a reason why the state was still at the bottom of the country in terms of various development indices.
Incidentally, Kishor had also handled Kumar’s campaign for the 2015 assembly polls and, upon a huge success at the hustings, was later rewarded by the latter as he was appointed as an advisor to the chief minister – a cabinet rank post.
The chief minister, however, ducked queries about Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s averment that the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be implemented once the Covid pandemic is over.
“This is a policy decision of the Centre which we will look into separately. As of now, our primary concern is Covid cases are again on the rise and protecting people against the fresh surge is our priority,” said Kumar.
The CAA has been a thorny issue for Kumar’s JD(U) which voted in favour of the bill proposing expedited citizenship for non-Muslims fleeing Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan because of “religious prosecution” but has been opposed to a nationwide NRC which the BJP keeps pressing for as a subsequent measure.
Kishor, who had by then been inducted into the JD(U) and elevated to the post of national vice-president, had adopted a strident stance on the issue of CAA and NRC. It ultimately brought him into conflict with Kumar, who then headed the party, and culminated in his expulsion from JD(U).
Kumar was also asked about the power crisis which has resulted from a decline in coal supplies.
“We will make all possible efforts to alleviate the situation. This crisis is very widespread,” replied the chief minister