Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today launched a sharp attack at the Congress saying its credibility and integrity has "eroded beyond repair" that could hurt the party's prospects of getting a third term.
In an unusual offensive against Congress, Kumar also said his JD(U) was not getting close to it amid speculation in this regard against the backdrop of Centre's decision to revisit the criteria for special status for states.
"There is nothing like growing close to Congress. I am pursuing Bihar's interest (special status). Congress is in power at the Centre and we are pursuing the matter with the government of the day," he told reporters in comments that could give some comfort to BJP. "I will continue to pursue the matter vigorously till the logical conclusion."
The JD(U) leader also appeared to indirectly mock at Rahul Gandhi's vision of inclusive development unveiled by him at his first structured interaction with India Inc., saying the Congress is incapable of solving people's problems despite being in power for several decades.
He said the next Lok Sabha polls will take place on schedule next year 'in all likelihood' as the Congress is adept at manipulating numbers to ensure that the UPA II government stayed 'afloat'. The next Lok Sabha elections are due in May next year.
JD(U), a key NDA constituent, is prepared to face the parliamentary polls whenever it takes place, he said, adding the credibility and integrity of Congress and the UPA government has 'eroded beyond repair' and could hit its electoral prospects to return to power.
"The next Lok Sabha polls will be held on time in all likelihood as the Congress knows the technique to manage numbers through manipulation," he said.
Congress has mastered the craft to ensure survival of the UPA government. "It (Cong) somehow succeeds in managing numbers," Kumar said referring to the Manmohan Singh government staying in power despite the withdrawal of support by Trinamool Congress and the DMK in the past six months.
However, if the mid-term polls were to take place it will be decided by the Congress and its allies, the Chief Minister said without elaborating.
"If the Congress and its allies have made up their minds to hold mid-term polls, then only it will happen. Otherwise the general elections will take place on schedule," he said.
Quizzed for his assessment, Kumar said it was difficult to speculate about the mid-term polls or its timing as in the present context it was for Congress and its allies to take a call on it.