Barbs fly: BJP says Nitish wanted to become VP; JD (U) calls it rubbish

PATNA: The bitterness between two former alliance partners came to the fore on Wednesday as both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United) indulged in a war of words, accusing each other of backstabbing.

Lashing out at chief minister Nitish Kumar for the U-turn, senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi alleged that Kumar dumped the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after the party failed to oblige his ambitions to become the vice president.

The former deputy CM even alerted the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to remain cautious. “Nitish Kumar has a habit of ditching allies. He will not be loyal to the RJD as well and will try to break the party by taking advantage of Lalu Prasad’s ill health… We are accused by the JD(U) of betraying our allies, by citing the example of Shiv Sena. But we were not its allies then,” he said.

The senior BJP leader alleged that the party made him the CM five times but he broke the 17-year-old relation twice in a stroke and reminded the JD (U) that in the 2020 assembly elections people voted for the NDA in the name of Narendra Modi. “Had the voters voted in name of Nitish Kumar, we could have crossed the 150 mark and the JD (U) would not have been reduced to 43 seats,” said Modi.

In response to the former deputy CM’s allegations, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan, national president of JD(U) said, “Nitish Kumar is not a backstabber, but it is BJP which has betrayed its alliance partners. We have all along respected the coalition principles; the example of Arunachal Pradesh is before everybody. The BJP conspired against the JD (U) by trying to break the party by using one of our former leaders. In 2015, when we had 118 MLAs, we could have formed the government independently, but Nitish Kumar gave an equal share to BJP.”

The JD(U) president even mocked Modi as a leader and said, “who has been abandoned by the party” as a “punishment” for “close relations with Nitish Kumar”.

JD(U) denied allegations that the BJP wanted to break the party and promoted RCP Singh as a Union minister without Nitish Kumar’s consent. “It is a white lie that BJP had made RCP Singh a Union minister without Nitish ji’s consent. It is also a lie that BJP wanted to break JD(U),” Modi said.