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'If Nitish Kumar can turn around Bihar, he can do so for India'

August 14, 2013 19:04 IST

Nitish Kumar and Narendra ModiRana Gangeshwar Singh is the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Mohiuddinnagar in Bihar. He has publicly declared that the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal-United will make a better prime minister than his own party’s Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister.

He spoke to A Ganesh Nadar over the phone on why he made this startling declaration to back the chief minister from another party.

What made you make this announcement? 

Bihar was one of the worst states in India thanks to Lalu Yadav. Nitish has made it among the best in a very short time. There are roads connecting every village in the state. Electricity then a distant dream is now a reality. Soon he has promised 24-hour power. He is doing everything that is needed to improve the state.

Tell me one thing that he had done that has impressed you so much?

In his last year Lalu Yadav’s budget for Bihar was Rs 13,000 crore. Nitish’s budget this year is Rs 94,000 crore with a supplementary budget of Rs 11,000 crore. The total budget is Rs 105,000 crore. How many states have such a large budget? This was a corruption ridden state. It was lawless. Nitish has changed that.

So if he can improve Bihar he can do it for the entire country?

Certainly! He can do it. Bihar was a lost cause. If he could turn that around he can manage the country. He is honest. I am sure that he will do a great job.

Your thinking will not make him the prime minister.

I am not the only one. I have toured Tamil Nadu. I have been to New Delhi. Everywhere people are talking about Nitish Kumar and the great job he has done in Bihar.

You think your party was wrong to allow the break-up with the JD-U?

Yes! We were wrong. Nitish Kumar made it clear that he would not like to endorse Modi. They should have taken him into confidence before announcing it unilaterally. He has been our ally for 17 years. How can you break trust like this? They were too much in a hurry to announce Modi’s name. That was wrong.

What fault do you find in Narendra Modi?

I am not saying anything is wrong with Modi. He has no experience outside Gujarat. He has not even been an MP. He will need training to be in Delhi. Nitish on the other hand has been an MP many times. He has been a highly successful central minister. He knows the central as well as state administration. Modi knows only his state.

What makes you say that Nitish was a successful central minister?

He was a very good railway minister. He has presented the railway budget which is huge. If he can do that he can look after the nation’s finances. You know that he was the agriculture minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government.

He was the best. He was the first one to suggest and implement insurance for crops. If your crop failed or even if there was less output, you could apply for insurance and make good your losses.

No one before him thought about this. Today we still have crop insurance and for that you have to thank Nitish Kumar.

Are you not bothered about what your party will do to you for your utterances?

I am a man of principle. I speak the truth as I see it. What can they do to me? Maximum punishment is that they will sack me as an MLA. They don’t even need to do that. They just have to ask. I will resign my assembly seat immediately. We all have to make sacrifices. I am ready to sacrifice my seat for my principles. I am not going to back out. I will stand by my words. My principles are more important to me than being a MLA

A Ganesh Nadar