A war of words sparked off on Sunday between the leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal-United after Umesh Kushwaha was made the Bihar unit president of Nitish Kumar’s party.
Leaders like Maheshwar Hazari, Sanjay Prasad, Sanjeev Singh, Ghulam Rasool Balyawi etc. openly came out in the media to accuse the ruling partner the BJP of ensuring the defeat of the Janata Dal-United candidates in the recently held Assembly election. They charged the BJP leadership with having a secret deal with the Lok Janshakti Party.
As if that was not enough former chief minister and the president of the Hindustani Awam Morcha, Jitan Ram Manjhi, came out openly in favour of chief minister Nitish Kumar. He said that one can learn to maintain coalition dharma from Nitish Kumar.
Earlier, in the day former MLA Umesh Kushwaha was chosen as the Bihar unit chief of the Janata Dal-United. His name was proposed at the party’s state executive meeting on Sunday by the outgoing president Bashistha Narayan Singh.
The BJP leader Nawal Kishore Yadav hit back at the Janata Dal-United leaders and said that it is surprising that they have failed to differentiate between the friends and foes.
BJP spokesman, Nikhil Anand, regretted Manjhi’s tweet. However, the leader of Janata Dal-United in Lok Sabha Lallan Singh, downplayed the differences between the two main NDA constituents.
Kushwaha’s nomination as the state party chief follows the appointment of RCP Singh as the national president of the party on Dec 26. The latter is a Kurmi while Kushwaha is a Koeri. Both these two castes form the main base of Janata Dal-United.
Political observers are of the view that these leaders have spoken against the saffron party only at the instance of Nitish Kumar.
Incidentally, only on the first day of the state executive meeting on Jan 9 Nitish had reiterated that he had become the chief minister only after being persuaded by the BJP and his own party leaders.
The leader of opposition in Bihar assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, meanwhile, ridiculed Nitish’s repeated statement that he did not want to become the chief minister.