Corruption paving way for anti-Congressism

New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said growing corruption was paving way for a shift towards anti-Congressism in national politics but parried a question on whether he was ready to lead any such opposition move.

"The situation is gradually unfolding. People are especially exercised with the issue of corruption. People are rising against corruption.

"As far as the issue of leadership is concerned, our political system creates the leader. But it will all depend on situations," Kumar told reporters in Press Club of India here.

He was replying to a query on whether there is a possibility of a resurgence of anti-Congressism as witnessed in past and is there anybody to provide leadership to the opposition in such an eventuality.

His remarks were significant as for quite some time, he is being talked about as a possible opposition candidate for Prime Ministership in the eventuality of a joint opposition effort to oust Congress from the Centre.

He, however, declined to answer a specific query on whether he is ready to lead any such movement for change.

"Change is always brought in by people and people also choose the leader…what do I say on it," was his refrain to such queries.

When it was pointed out that his victory in Bihar also strengthened BJP`s hand, Kumar said, "This was not the victory of any party or alliance but a victory of people of the state.

People of Bihar came together to vote for Bihar`s development in the election."

He also described his earlier disapproval of BJP`s Tiranga Yatra to Kashmir as "a reaction coming from the heart and due to a thinking for long…it was not made keeping in mind who felt what with it".

Kumar chose the occasion to make it clear that "We have an alliance with BJP but we have different views on many issues."

Speaking separately at Indian Women`s Press Corps, Kumar said, "There is no discomfort in ties with BJP."

He also made a strong pitch for a JPC to probe 2G Spectrum allocation scam saying there is no other way out and the kind of inquiry will benefit all.

"In my opinion, the demand for JPC should be accepted so that there is also a probe by the JPC and Parliament also functions smoothly. In my view, there is no other way out. I fail to understand what is the problem in accepting JPC?".

Kumar said that while PAC would also look into the issue, JPC will have a "larger domain" and its report will be discussed in Parliament. He said that move to constitute JPC will benefit not only the ruling party but everybody.

The Bihar Chief Minister declined to accept that there was any `Nitish wave` in the state during assembly polls and added that the results of the election were not related to any damage or benefit to anybody as "people voted for themselves".

Kumar, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today to apprise him of the drought situation in Bihar and invited him to visit the state, also alleged that Bihar is yet to get full support from the Centre for its development.

"Not yet. Had we got full support, we would have been able to work all the more," was his refrain when asked whether the Centre is giving full cooperation to the state. He said that the attitude of the Centre should change.

"We will fully cooperate and will seek full cooperation.

I have met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and apprised him of Bihar`s drought situation. I have also requested the Prime Minister to come to Bihar," he said.

Asked about Congress President Sonia Gandhi`s remarks yesterday expressing anguish over the race for power and pelf and noting that freedom fighter Chaudhary Ranbir Singh retired from politics voluntarily at the age of 64, Kumar said anybody can implement such a binding on oneself if he wished.

"It is not necessary that it has to be fixed. This is something that can be done even individually. Lots of people imposed this self-restriction on them. Whether it is decided in a meeting of all parties or not, a person can impose it on self," he said.

Kumar said that corruption and rising prices are also related with the issue of internal security. If common men is angry, it could lead to such problems like Naxalism, he said.

He said that a system of governance in which the needy receive support will check the growth of Naxals.

Asked about the issue of black money, Kumar said corruption and black money are correlated adding that his government is serious about implementing the law to attach properties of those convicted in cases of acquiring disproportionate assets.

On the issue of terrorism, he said that there was a need to get rid of the tendency to look at each other with mistrust if one has to fight terrorism, which can only be fought if people remained united.

Thanking women in Bihar for turning up in large numbers to vote during the Assembly election, Kumar said he is demanding separate booths and separate EVMs for women voters.

Kumar said that the young people in Bihar are not interested in caste politics and his government is working in a way that will render this kind of thinking obsolete there.

"The identity of Bihari pride will subsume all smaller identities and then only the national pride will remain a bigger identity," he said.

Kumar also said the majority of welfare schemes, including the issue of food security, can be addressed better through cash subsidies as it prevents wide-spread corruption.

He gave an example of the hugely successful scheme of bicycles for all girls in high school in Bihar saying the government had provided Rs 2,000 in cash to the students instead of providing them the cycles.