Nitish thanks Manmohan Singh for calling him a "secular leader"

Patna, June 18 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for calling him a "secular leader" and said the praise has given him "peace of mind."

"The Prime Minister has said and I am (secular). His statement has given me peace," Kumar told media here.

In the latest overture by the Congress to Nitish Kumar, Dr. Singh on Monday described the Bihar Chief Minister as "a secular leader."

When asked if his party will seek a partnership with the Bihar Chief Minister, he responded, "In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies; we decide as the situation evolves."

Kumar quit a 17-year alliance with the BJP on Sunday alleging that it is promoting divisive leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He also accused the saffron outfit of betraying and ignoring its own senior leaders.

"They (the BJP) have betrayed their own leaders... how can they accuse us of betrayal? If anyone is talking about betrayal, then betrayal has been from the other side. Someone who betrays his own seniors, can"t talk about being betrayed," he said.

Kumar further said the JD-U had chosen to opt out of the alliance because it could not see eye to eye with the new BJP leadership, especially in the wake of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi"s elevation as the leader of the BJP"s 2014 general election campaign.

"The era of Atal-Advani is over.... we cannot accept the new order of the BJP," Kumar reiterated today, referring to the iconic leaders of the BJP, LK Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Asserting that decision to split with the NDA not taken in haste, Kumar said: "It was decided after due consideration and taken at the right time."

"I called BJP leaders to decide a roadmap of the split. They did not come. By not coming for the meeting, BJP closed the door on talks," he added.

JD (U) has 118 MLAs in 243-member Bihar assembly and needs the support of only four more MLAs to have a majority.

There are 91 MLAS from BJP, 21 from RJD and one each from LJP and CPI in the state assembly. (ANI)