Patna: Reacting to the ongoing face-off between the West Bengal government and the Centre, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said “anything” can happen in the country until the Lok Sabha elections are announced.
He, however, firmly ruled out the possibility of the Modi government making an attempt to dislodge Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee from power in view of the crisis.
Kumar pointed out that unlike in the past, “when Congress governments at the Centre used to clamp Presidents rule at will,” now there were clear guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.
On Sunday, an all-out war broke out between the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government after 40 CBI officers arrived at Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence to question him on Sunday evening. The TMC alleged that they were trying to question him without a warrant, following which the Kolkata police briefly detained a group of CBI officers.
On Sunday night, Banerjee launched a protest against the CBI for attempting to question her police chief without completing required formalities, alleging that they are destroying the federal structure of the state.
Banerjee began her sit-in protest at a city landmark, insisting that the CBI’s attempt to question Kumar in connection with chit fund scams stifled the spirit of “constitution and federalism”.
“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,” Kumar said.
Kumar, who is known for making stinging remarks on his opponents, took a dig at Banerjee when he was asked how he would have reacted if the police chief of his state been embroiled in a similar controversy. “Do you think I will have a DGP with such a record?” he quipped.
“An atmosphere of tension and bitterness prevails in the country. And we can witness anything, all types of things, in the next one month. These need to be watched and handled with patience,” he said. “Nobody is concerned about the country. Everyone is interested in votes. But our country is a great one. And it has weathered many odds,” he added
Kumar also frowned upon the refusal by the West Bengal administration to disallow Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath from landing his helicopter in Balurghat and Raiganj, which forced him to address the rallies there over telephone. “We have never heard of such a thing. Elected representatives have a democratic right to interact with the people through rallies,” he said.
About the allegations by opposition parties that the BJP-led NDA government was thinking in terms of clamping Presidents rule in Bengal, the JD(U) chief said, “it used to happen earlier when Congress governments imposed President’s rule at will. We saw that in Bihar in 2005.”
Kumar was referring to the controversial decision by the then governor Buta Singh to dissolve the state assembly without giving an opportunity to any of the formations to face a floor test after the elections held in February, 2005 threw up a hung assembly.