“Has Nitish Kumar Begged BJP For Tie Up?”: JD(U) Over Amit Shah Remark
Senior JD(U) leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh on Sunday questioned whether party supremo Nitish Kumar has begged the BJP for realignment, after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the party’s doors have been “shut forever” for the Bihar chief minister.
Mr Shah, during his visit to the state on Saturday, claimed that Nitish Kumar has joined hands with the RJD and the Congress, after ditching the BJP, to realise his Prime Ministerial ambitions, while asserting that the BJP’s doors are shut forever for him.
“Has Nitish Kumar begged the BJP for realignment? Amit Shah should remember that the Chief Minister returned to the NDA in 2017 only after being persuaded by the PM to do so,” Mr Singh, the JD(U) national president, said.
Wondering why the Union home minister had to say the “same thing again and again”, another JD(U) leader, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, questioned whether it was because the BJP has begun to “feel the heat of Nitish Kumar and the JD(U) not being by their side”.
“Nitish ji has never expressed his intention to return to the NDA, so such rhetoric is pointless. We would have appreciated if Shah would have spoken something on what his government has done, and proposes to do in future, for Bihar,” Mr Chaudhary, the state finance minister, said.
The BJP and Kumar first entered into an alliance way back in the 1990s when the latter’s outfit was known as Samata Party. The alliance continued for more than a decade till it first snapped in 2013 when Kumar pulled out of the NDA following differences over his then Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi occupying the national centre-stage.
Mr Kumar and the BJP fought bitterly for a few more years until a dramatic realignment in 2017 when it was accused of “achieving power through back door” by the RJD, which is now charged with the same by the BJP.
Mr Chaudhary, one of Mr Kumar’s trouble-shooters, claimed Mr Shah’s words “clearly betrayed the exasperation BJP workers in the state must be feeling”.
“He accused Nitish Kumar of having agreed to give away the Chief Minister’s chair to Tejashwi Yadav and in the same breath alleged that Nitish ji will cheat Lalu ji (RJD supremo and Tejashwi’s father). It does not add up,” he said.
Mr Singh, also known as Lalan, said, “The Union government has cheated the people in the name of welfare schemes such as Ujjwala Bharat and Ayushman Bharat. The Centre has promoted crony capitalism as evident in its reluctance to get investigated the alleged fraud by the Adani Group. It does not behove the BJP to speak of new allies when it has caused many of its former coalition partners to leave.” Similar sentiments were expressed by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose Hindustani Awam Morcha, had in a show of solidarity towards Kumar, followed the JD(U) in quitting the NDA last year.
“When Nitish Kumar has never said that he wants to return to the NDA, I do not understand what Amit Shah was trying to prove by pressing the point,” Mr Majhi said.
Incidentally, Mr Shah’s comment came nearly a month after Kumar had asserted that he would “prefer death to a realignment with the BJP”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)