Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday, 5 September, rejected speculations about his prime ministerial ambitions as he met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi, saying that he has no intentions of pitching himself as a candidate.
"There is a concerted effort to weaken regional parties. My effort is to unite the Opposition ahead of the General Elections. I have no intention of pitching myself as a prime ministerial candidate," Kumar said, as quoted by NDTV.
Kumar also expressed his gratitude for Congress' support to the Bihar government and discussed the strategy for the 2024 elections.
They further discussed the possibility of bringing like-minded parties together, reported news agency ANI, citing Congress sources.
This comes after Kumar along with Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav met Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav at the former CM's residence on Monday.
The Janata Dal (United) chief had last month cut ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and formed a new government with the RJD and other parties in the state.
Kumar had said that it was "stupid" of him to enter an alliance with the BJP in 2017 after parting ways four years earlier, and stressed that as long as JD(U) exists, there will be "no compromise" with the BJP.
He was addressing party leaders at the JDU's national council meeting in Patna on Sunday, a month after he walked out of the alliance with the BJP.
'I Am Smiling Because I Got Mukti From BJP': CM Nitish Kumar
While Kumar has stressed that he has no ambitions for the prime ministerial post, since the break-up with the BJP, he has been pushing for a national role in an effort to unite the Opposition.
"If Opposition unites, these people can be defeated. I will be visiting Delhi soon and will meet not just those who are with us, but others too," he said.
Smiling, Kumar said, "If you feel that I keep smiling these days, it is because I got 'mukti' from them (BJP). We will now together take the country forward. You also look happy, you too are smiling," NDTV reported.
The change in government had come after erstwhile Union Minister Ramchandra Prasad (RCP) Singh's exit from the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U).
The friction between Singh, Nitish Kumar's JD(U), and alliance partner the BJP was evidenced after Singh had to give up his Union Cabinet berth, following the denial of another Rajya Sabha term for him by the party.
(With inputs from NDTV and ANI.)