Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday expressed bewilderment over speculations about his possible candidature for presidential elections, due later this year, asserting that the matter has never been broached with him.
Responding to queries from journalists, the JD(U) leader said he has neither the inclination (ruchi) nor aspiration (akanksha) for the top job and is happy serving the people of the state.
The current hubbub over his possible candidature did not have his approval (samarthan), Mr Kumar said.
“I am flabbergasted (ghor ashcharya). Nobody has even discussed the matter with me,” exclaimed Mr Kumar a day after Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik publicly stated that his party, headed by Sharad Pawar, could consider supporting the Bihar Chief Minister for the top constitutional post.
Mr Malik had, however, made it clear that this would be possible only if Mr Kumar, who runs his government in Bihar in alliance with BJP, snapped ties with the BJP.
There have been reports in a section of the media that political strategist Prashant Kishor, who met Mr Kumar in Delhi last week, was lobbying for the JD(U) leader with whom he has worked politically and professionally.
However, Mr Kumar, who is the longest serving chief minister of Bihar and is now in his 70s, sought to make light of such reports.
Asked whether he suspected that the speculations were fanned by the opposition to create mistrust between him and the BJP, Mr Kumar said “It is not even that”.
The tenure of President Ram Nath Kovind comes to a close in July this year. Although the BJP rules the Centre with a brute majority in Lok Sabha, it does not have adequate numbers Rajya Sabha and legislatures of states and union territories and might need to field a candidate who is acceptable to, at least a section, of the opposition parties.
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