A day after their 17-year-old alliance ended in bitter acrimony, the Janata Dal-United and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sparred in Bihar yesterday. While Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it is difficult to work with BJP’s new age leaders, the BJP decided to expose his “double-speak”. Kumar criticised the BJP’s present leadership, saying it had forgotten its seniors and had forced the JD(U) to end the alliance.
“BJP has forgotten its old leaders like Vajpayee and Advani, who played a major role in formation of the NDA and the national agenda that was prepared in the interest of all Vajpayee and Advani’s era had ended in BJP and a new era has begun now. It was difficult for JD(U) to work with BJP’s new-era leaders,” Kumar said at a press conference after holding his weekly Janata Darbar. For the first time since the inception of the darbar, Kumar held it without the BJP.
An angry BJP then decided to expose the Kumar’s ‘doublespeak’ on Narendra Modi by distributing CDs of an old video in which he had praised the Gujarat chief minister. Sushil Kumar Modi, a senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister, told media persons that “we will expose Nitish Kumar by distributing CDs of an old video in which he praised Modi during his visit to Gujarat in 2003, a year after the Gujarat riots”. “These CDs will be distributed among people in rural as well as in urban areas. People will come to know the doublespeak and double face of Nitish Kumar over Modi,” he said.
Soon after JD(U) ended its alliance with the BJP on Sunday afternoon, the BJP released a speech in which Nitish Kumar as a railway minister praised Modi as a potential national leader and a development-oriented politician. “I hope that Narendra Modi will not be limited to Gujarat after some time. The country needs his services,” Kumar had said then. The fissures between the two parties came to fore after Kumar opposed BJP’s decision to make Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi its public face for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Nitish Kumar also disagreed with the BJP leaders saying the JD(U) had betrayed the people of Bihar by snapping ties. “The mandate was for the development of Bihar and we are doing this,” he said.