Opponents Trying To Politically Assassinate Me Alleges: Nitish Kumar

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Patna:  Reports that claim he met with BJP chief Amit Shah and spoke recently to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the phone are "baseless" and prove that "opponents are trying to politically assassinate me," claimed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today at a meeting of his party legislators in Patna.

Mr Kumar said that though he remains unwavering in his backing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his banning of 500 and 1,000-rupee notes, the support comes with no strings attached.

The Chief Minister's allies have been irked by his recent statements praising demonetisation including his description of "the Prime Minister riding a tiger bravely" attempting to crack down on black money and corruption. Over the weekend, Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Yadav, the chiefs of the two parties that combine with his in the Bihar government, discussed Mr Kumar's refusal to allow his legislators to participate in any protests against the notes ban that was called suddenly by the PM on November 8.

Yesterday, BJP chief Amit Shah tweeted his gratitude to Mr Kumar for his support to the demonetisation. "I thank Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the fight against black money," he said.

Mr Kumar told his legislators this evening that nothing about his siding with the PM on the currency reboot should be seen as an "indicator of a political realignment."

He also reiterated that he remains concerned about the distress caused in rural India particularly with the abrupt cancellation of most of the notes that were in circulation.

Mr Kumar, who ended a long alliance with the BJP in 2013, has been given a place on a committee of five chief ministers tasked to give the centre feedback on the currency ban in their states.

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