statesman news service
PATNA/NEW DELHI, 14 JUNE : A day before the crucial meeting of JD-U leaders, MPs and MLAs in Patna tomorrow to decide on the fate of the BJP-JD-U alliance, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and the state BJP leadership were today embroiled in a bitter verbal duel, with Mr Kumar saying there were difficulties in continuing ties with the BJP, even as the “anti-Modi" section of the BJP national leadership urged Mr Kumar to reconsider his decision to quit the NDA.
The immediate provocation of the war of words was the state government’s refusal to allot the Miller School ground in Patna for the BJP rally on 23 June.
“The situation is such that there are problems (in continuing the alliance),” Mr Kumar told the media in Patna on his return from a two-day seva yatra in Katihar, signalling the imminent split with his 17-year-old partner.
The chief minister recited a Hindi couplet to describe the current political situation in the state: “Dua karte hai jeene ki, dava dete hain marne ki (they wish for my long life but prescribe medicines that will kill me)”. He explained that while on the one hand the BJP was suggesting for continuing the alliance, on the other hand, it had created a situation where carrying the alliance forward has become difficult.
The BJP reacted sharply with another couplet: “Wo katl bhi karte hain to charcha nahin hoti, hum aah bhi bharte hain to ho jate hain badnam. (If they commit murder, they get away with it, while if we even sigh we get a bad name).
In the Capital, JD-U chief and NDA convener Mr Sharad Yadav, however, kept the door open for a rapprochement asserting that his party hadn’t given any ultimatum to the BJP on the Modi issue. “Talks are still on, we will not discuss these with media,” he said even as he voiced concern over the NDA “deviating” from its ‘original national agenda’ as was drafted during its formation 17 years ago with the blessings of Atal Behari Vajpayee and L K Advani. “We will never want to break the BJP – JD (U) alliance. Our alliance with the JD (U) is more than 17 years old,” Mr Rajnath Singh tweeted. Senior leader Sushma Swaraj also made a fervent appeal for upholding NDA unity. “We must do everything to keep NDA united… Only a united Opposition can defeat Congress. Whenever Opposition got united, Congress was defeated,” she tweeted, apparently playing up the ‘NDA card’ against Mr Modi. Mr Yadav is likely to press his party to postpone the final decision till Sunday instead of tomorrow. Mr Sharad Yadav declined to share with media the ‘thrust’ of the message he received from Mr L K Advani. "One possible way could be to delay the decision at least till the end of assembly elections in five states due later this year,” a JD(U) leader said. Mr Yadav said the JD-U maintained that Mr Modi&’s elevation was an internal matter of BJP. “But we have objections to the remarks made by BJP leaders after that. At Goa, speeches that happened went beyond the national agenda. The NDA alliance exists for now but the alliance has to continue under the norms of the national agenda of NDA under which the coalition has functioned so far,” he said. On the other hand, all BJP ministers led by the deputy chief minister Mr Sushil Kumar Modi, skipped office today. A number of state BJP leaders have sought to mount pressure on Nitish Kumar by raising the bogey of ‘morality’ and said as the mandate was for JD(U)-BJP combine if the alliance crumbles the JD(U) should dissolve the state assembly and seek fresh elections. The BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Madhubani, Hukmdev Narayan Yadav said, “If JD-U decides to quit from alliance, it should seek a fresh mandate as people of Bihar had voted for the alliance”. The state BJP also accused Mr Kumar of trying to engineer split in the BJP through promises of ministerial berth. Meanwhile, the chief minister is working out strategy to form the next government in the state without the support of the BJP. Soon after reaching Patna from his two-day seva yatra of Katihar, Mr Kumar huddled together with the core group of his party at his official residence at 1, Anne Marg. Although it was not officially clear what they discussed, sources said the issue of debate is about forming the next government without the BJP and drafting the portfolio distribution. The JD-U is expected to meet tomorrow with the arrival of party chief Mr Sharad Yadav after which a final announcement over a split with the BJP is to be announced.
WAR OF WORDS
Dua karte hai jeene ki, dava dete hain marne ki (they (BJP) wish for my long life, but prescribe medicines that will kill me). ~ Mr Nitish Kumar on the difficulty in continuing ties with the BJP
Wo katl bhi karte hai to charcha nahin hoti, hum aah bhi bharte hain to ho jate hain badnam (If they commit murder, they get away with it, while if we even sigh we get a bad name). ~ BJP retorts