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Secularism cannot be used as cover-up for corruption: Nitish

Asserting that he won’t tolerate injustice and corruption in his government, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday attacked the RJD by saying that secularism cannot be used as a cover to hide corruption.

“Secularism has to do with ideology and it is not a cover-up for corruption. People should not preach secularism to me. I know well what the situation is,” Nitish Kumar said in the Bihar assembly ahead of the floor test that his government won 131-108.

The JD-U leader said the state’s people had given him a mandate for transparency and development.

“I am secular through my thoughts. I support transparency in politics. If a few people want to use politics to acquire properties then I won’t support them,” the Chief Minister, who is also President of Janata Dal-United, said.

He said his new alliance with the National Democratic Alliance aimed for Bihar’s development.

“The decision was taken in the state’s interest, for ‘nyay ke saath vikas‘ (development in tandem with justice),” Nitish Kumar said.

Nitish Kumar on Wednesday resigned as the Chief Minister, dumping Grand Alliance partners Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress. He again took oath as the Chief Minister with National Democratic Alliance support on Thursday.

“These people have arrogance, and ego… they tried to undermine one party,” he said while referring to several RJD leaders who attacked him in the last 20 months.

The Chief Minister said: “I tried my best. I ran the government for over one third duration (of the current assembly) by following the coalition ‘dharma’ and tried my best to work for the state. But they kept on speaking.”

“We got the vote to work for the people and not to enjoy. And when everything came in the public domain one after another, I just asked them to explain,” he said while referring to CBI case against Lalu Prasad and his family members regarding the 2006 leasing of two railway hotels for maintenance and other corruption charges.

The Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and the Central Bureau of Investigation have filed cases against RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his family members for their alleged involvement in corruption.

“They asked me what to do. I clearly told them to give point-by-point rebuttal to the charges. But they didn’t give any answers. Today, they are putting forth the excuse of law,” the Chief Minister said.

He said he was here to serve the state’s people and not one family. “I am here not to serve one family.”

Nitish Kumar said people should use the chance (of getting political power) to serve the people and not to earn through illegal means.

He said it had become impossible for him to defend leaders facing corruption charges.

He his JD-U had made it very clear that it won’t compromise on corruption.

“That’s why we announced that in the country’s and state’s interests, we will take a decision. So we took the decision in the interest of Bihar and its people,” he said.

He also thanked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Lok Janshakti Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha, and independent MLAs for supporting his party to form the government.

“For the first time we have got an opportunity that there is the same party’s government both at the Centre and in the state. I am hopeful Bihar will attain new heights,” he said, adding that he won’t tolerate injustice and corruption in his government.