Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar might have called Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru a national hero in the past and praised his role in the freedom movement, but he doesn't follow him. Mahatma Gandhi, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan are his role models, he said.
While talking about enhanced connectivity and the condition of roads in the state, he mentioned that it upsets him when people still use the name Bailey Road for what was officially renamed as Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg.
Pandit Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India and his contribution to the freedom movement cannot be forgotten, the Janata Dal (United) chief said.
"I have tried hard to remind people and even officers to call it Nehru Marg, but they still use its former name. It appears that people who changed the name didn't do much to popularise it," he said at a recent event in Patna involving engineers.
The chief minister, who broke up with Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and exited the grand alliance last year to form a new government with the BJP, didn't waste a moment to clarify that he wasn't a follower of Pandit Nehru.
"I follow Bapu, Lohia and JP's ideals," he said and carefully distanced himself from the Congress, one of the partners in the anti-BJP mahagathbandhan, as he wouldn't want to upset any of his current partners.
A senior Congress leader in Bihar said that Nitish Kumar flip-flops and can't be taken seriously. He goes out of his way to criticise rivals and please current partners, he said.
"Earlier, Nitish Kumar praised Nehru ji and called for an RSS-mukt Bharat," the Congress leader said.
When Nitish Kumar was on the opposite side of the fence, he had urged parties to come together to deliver "a Sangh-mukt Bharat", stating that it was imperative to rid the country of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Singh or RSS, which is the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Chief Minister was among the most aggressive critics of the RSS after he ended his nearly two-decade-long partnership with the BJP over its decision to name Narendra Modi as its presumptive prime minister.
But now, the JD(U) chief is channelling all his energies into preparing for the national elections next year. Mr Kumar has reportedly ironed out seat-sharing issues between the BJP and JD(U).
In his last meeting of the JDU's state executive, Nitish Kumar had announced that the talks with BJP chief Amit Shah on seat sharing have concluded and the party has managed to secure a "respectable" number of seats, sources said.
BJP leaders in state concede that even though they are not in the loop about the final seat-sharing agreement, Nitish Kumar's body language suggests that he seems to have got his way of contesting the same number seats as the BJP or only a couple less - despite the JD(U) scoring just two and the BJP 22 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections. Election results will be out on May 23.