BJP’s state president in Bihar and Member of Parliament from Ujiarpur, Nityanand Rai, spoke to The Sunday Guardian on the presidential election and Bihar politics. Excerpts:
Q. There are reports that the BJP leadership is concerned about cross voting during the Presidential poll as your rivals are approaching the NDA MLAs and MPs, requesting them to vote for UPA nominee Meira Kumar.
A. There is no chance of cross voting from our side. In fact, members from the Grand Alliance will vote for Ram Nath Kovind.
Q. Are you talking to the members of the Grand Alliance to seek vote for the NDA nominee?
A. The Grand Alliance members are going to support us. We are not talking to any one of them in this regard but I have a feeling that they are going to support our nominee when the polling takes place.
Q. There is a perception that your colleague Sushil Modi, who has been “exposing” the alleged corruption of Lalu Yadav and his family members, has been left alone and the state leadership is not with him on the issue.
A. This is a wrong perception. When we met in Kishanganj recently for the state executive meeting of the party, we decided to work on this matter, and following that related resolutions were passed. Subsequently, every party worker and post holders, had participated in a state wide dharna seeking the arrest of Lalu Yadav’s two sons, Tejashwi and Tejpratap. The state BJP leadership is supporting Sushil Modi. All his press conferences have been done from the state BJP office in Patna. There are so many leaders in our party and every leader has been entrusted with some or the other responsibility, and this work (to “expose” Lalu) has been given to Sushil Modi and he is doing it very efficiently.
Q. BJP MP from Patna Sahib, Shatrughan Sinha, has been speaking against the party line and has been critical of the government’s policies. He has also attacked party leaders. Is the BJP thinking of taking action against him?
A. Action against MPs, MLAs, MLCs is taken after following a due process and the state leadership is not involved in that. Sinha’s tirade against the party does not suit him. The party workers worked very hard for him to win the election. He won because the party gave him the ticket and no one will respect him if he is not in the party.
Q. When will the JDU and Nitish Kumar join the NDA as has been speculated for a long time now? What is your personal view on this?
A. Who will join the NDA and who will not is decided by the Central leadership. The personal opinion of the state president does not matter as far as the working of the party is concerned. When the time comes we will see.
Q. According to reports, RJD leaders P.C. Gupta and J.P. Yadav recently met a couple of Union ministers in New Delhi with the request to “go slow on Lalu and his family members”. Who were these ministers?
A. I am not aware of this development.