Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday reacted to the ongoing hostilities between the centre and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying anything can happen when elections are around. Mr Kumar, a BJP ally, said it was a matter of a month until the Election Commission announces dates for the Lok Sabha elections.
A team of CBI officers Sunday reached Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar’s house to question him on two ponzi scams. The police whisked the officers away and briefly detained them. Riled with the development, Ms Banerjee started an indefinite sit-in protest in central Kolkata.
“What is happening between the CBI and the West Bengal government is for them to explain. I am not in the habit of commenting on others. But this is all a matter of a month or so, until the Election Commission comes out with the poll schedule and model code of conduct comes into force,” PTI quoted him as saying.
Nitish Kumar — known for making stinging attacks on his opponents– took a dig at Ms Banerjee when he was asked how he would have reacted if he was involved in a similar controversy. “Do you think I will have a DGP with such a record?” he quipped.
The CBI wants to question the Kolkata Police Commissioner over missing documents linked to an investigation into the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams. The agency says Rajeev Kumar — who headed a Special Investigation Team probing the scams–had ignored several summons and had been missing.
Nitish Kumar ruled out the possibility of the Modi government dismissing Ms Banerjee’s government in Bengal. He said unlike in the past, “when Congress governments at the centre used to clamp President’s rule at will,” now there were clear guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.
The JDU leader also made a strong statement when he was asked if the ongoing standoff was detrimental to the integrity of the country. “Nobody is concerned about the country. All are interested in votes. But our country is a great one. And it has weathered many odds,” he told PTI.
Nitish Kumar had joined forces with arch rival Lalu Yadav and defeated the BJP in 2015. However, after allegations of corruption came up against Mr Yadav’s family, he pulled the plug on the alliance. He accepted BJP’s support to form a government in the state.
Last year, there were reports of a rift between Mr Kumar and the BJP over seat sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The differences were ironed out.
With inputs from PTI