The Janata Dal (United) leaders have reacted with outrage to the remarks by BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should make way for the BJP in the state and he should move to Delhi. Party national general secretary KC Tyagi said that Paswan should refrain from making such comments, adding that these things are not good for the spirit of coalition politics.
Tyagi said that Nitish Kumar is the NDA’s leader in Bihar and all the constituents of the alliance have accepted his leadership.
"He will be the leader of alliance, it is already fixed. All the constituents of the alliance have accepted him. During the Lok Sabha elections, it was declared that he will be the NDA’s leader and it was acceptable to all," he said. Tyagi added that the JD(U) has told the BJP that "our party never gives such statement" and these things would have an adverse impact on the alliance.
State minister and deputy leader in assembly Shyam Rajak and state spokesperson Sanjay Singh also lashed out at Paswan. Condemning Paswan, they urged the BJP high command to reign in the leader and accused him of having exceeded his brief.
Paswan had caused a flutter in the political circles in the state by saying that the next CM should be from the saffron party and Nitish Kumar, who is serving his third consecutive term, should move to Delhi.
Paswan’s remark escalated the war of words in the state’s political arena, forcing the BJP leader to clarify that he meant no disrespect to the JD(U) national president but pointed out that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi in whose name all NDA constituents were getting votes.
"Kumar would do well to make way and if possible, move to the Centre, leaving state politics for BJP and the second rung of his party," he said.
"We (BJP) have stood by Nitish Kumar for three consecutive terms. It is time that he reciprocates by giving BJP a chance in the Bihar assembly polls next year. The Lok Sabha polls have established that even he needs the magnetism of Narendra Modi to get votes," Paswan had said.
The latest development has provided the opposition with ammunition to launch attacks on the NDA comprising BJP, JD(U) and LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan.
"Does the CM have the guts to repudiate the BJP leader? Is it not true that he refrained from releasing his party’s manifesto during Lok Sabha polls to appease the mightier alliance partner? Can he deny that he sought votes in the name of Narendra Modi and his 16 MPs owe their victory to the Prime Ministers appeal?" RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav tweeted.
Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra said that BJP leader’s remark was an insult to the Chief Minister and held Nitish responsible for things coming to this pass. Upendra Kushwaha of RLSP alleged that government has been a complete failure on all counts and it was being done to divert public attention.