Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has once again made his differences with BJP on certain subjects; more specifically Ayodhya temple, Article 370 in Kashmir and Uniform Civil Code, clear.
The Janata Dal (United) President reiterated his stand that the proposals to remove Article 370, impose Uniform Civil Code and construct Ram temple at Ayodhya either be settled through dialogue or court ruling.
“It has been our view that Article 370 should not be removed. Similarly, Uniform Civil Code should not be imposed on anyone and the issue of Ram temple at Ayodhya be either resolved through dialogue or court order,” said Kumar. He clarified that there was no “bitterness” in his party’s relation with the BJP over the JD(U) not joining the Union Cabinet with “symbolic representation“.
Kumar was replying to questions of mediapersons after his weekly public interaction programme Lok Samvad here.
National Chief General Secretary of JD(U) KC Tyagi had on Sunday, after the party’s national executive meeting, said the party will oppose the Centre’s move to scrap Article 370 while being in the NDA, just as it had done when the party voted against the Triple Talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha. “We will continue to oppose it (abrogating Article 370) while being in NDA… It is your (media) wish that we should part ways,” Tyagi had said.
On Sunday, JD(U), an ally of the BJP in Bihar, had also announced that it would contest assembly elections in Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Haryana on its own, as part of its goal to achieve national party status by 2020. Article 370 is expected to a major election issue in the Jammu and Kashmir state polls.
“There is no bitterness in the NDA with regard to the party’s decision not to join the Union Cabinet. We have very cordial relations,” Kumar said on Monday, answering a query on the party’s decision not to be part of the Union Cabinet. Kumar, who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30, said his party declined the offer of token representation in the cabinet by nominating one person from the party, as was made public earlier.
The Bihar Chief Minister favoured closure of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and suggested the Union government, instead, introduce Central Sector Schemes in its place. “Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) should be closed. And the Centre should introduce central sector schemes if it wants to run a particular scheme on all India basis. We have also said it before the Finance Commission. We are of the view that every state should have its own schemes (depending on need and requirement),” Kumar told reporters.
Kumar said he played an important role in reducing the number of CSSs when he was in the central government. He held important portfolios of Railway and Surface Transport in the NDA government of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Kumar said he told the NDA government that special initiatives need to be taken up to pull out poor states out of backwardness. Based on the recommendations of the sub-group of chief ministers on rationalisation of CSSs, the number of CSSs had been reduced to 28 from 66, the government had informed the Parliament on April 10, 2017.