Bihar Chief Minister on Tuesday asserted “all is well” in the NDA even as his JD(U)s vice president, Prashant Kishor, opened a front against BJP leader and his deputy in the government Sushil Kumar Modi. “Sab theek hai”, (all is well), was Kumars terse reply as he walked past a posse of journalists here who waited eagerly for him to speak on the turmoil that has engulfed the two parties in the past few days.
Rumbling between the NDA partners was triggered by Kishor pitching for greater number of seats for the JD(U) in the Assembly polls in Bihar due next year. Kumar made the comment on the sidelines of an event to pay respect to deceased BJP leader Nabin Kishore Prasad Sinha in the state capital.
Several ministers hailing from both the JD(U) and the BJP, including Nand Kishore Yadav, Prem Kumar, Neeraj Kumar and Nitin Nabin, local MLA and son of the departed leader, joined the CM in paying tributes to Sinha.
The JD(U) national presidents assertion came even as the poll strategist turned politician launched a frontal attack on Modi reminding him that he owed the Deputy CMs chair to “circumstances” that helped him enjoy power despite his party having lost the last assembly polls in 2015.
Kishors fresh tweet was a riposte to attacks by Modi on the micro-blogging site the previous day in which the Deputy CM had refrained from mentioning the poll strategist-turned-politician by name.
The controversy was triggered on Sunday when Kishor gave interviews to a section of electronic media here and contended that his party should contest a significantly higher number of seats, in the Bihar assembly polls due late next year, than the BJP.
Having first shot to fame for his handling of Narendra Modis election campaign in 2014 which was an astounding success, Kishor has in the recent past rankled the BJP through his associations with baiters of the saffron party like Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrababu Naidu.
He had also stoutly opposed Citizenship Amendment Bill which was passed in Parliament with the JD(U) voting in favor. Attacking Kishor for his latest salvo, Sushil Modi had on Monday come out with a couple of tweets wherein he affirmed that assembly polls will be fought “under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar”.
He, however, had expressed displeasure over “violation of coalition dharma” by “those who have entered politics, not driven by ideology but while engaged in the business of collating political data and coining slogans”.
In another tweet, Modi had ruminated about protests against CAA, NRP and NRC harming national interests and added “those expecting fat money for their company in this turmoil are busy pursuing their business interests while donning the political garb”.
Kishor, in his latest tweet, sought to better Modi in pungency, saying in Bihar, it is the people and not some other party or its top leadership who have made Nitish Kumar the leader and the JD(U) the largest political formation.
“It is pleasant to listen to discourses on political propriety and ideology from Sushil Modi who became Deputy CM by virtue of circumstances despite the defeat in 2015, he said. JD(U) and BJP have been allies since 1996 when Nitish Kumar’s outfit was known as Samata Party.
Their alliance saw a break in 2013 when Kumar pulled out of the NDA following difference of opinion over projecting Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
As a consequence, the BJP was unceremoniously stripped of power in the state. Kumar, who smarted under the drubbing of JD(U) in Lok Sabha polls of 2014 which saw the BJPs graph soar across the Hindi heartland, including Bihar, tied up with arch rival Lalu Prasad for the assembly polls that came the following year.
The Grand Alliance that came into being with JD(U), RJD and Congress coming together pulled off a huge victory and was seen as a big setback to the BJP after the Lok Sabha polls.
However, Kumar grew sore over the name of Prasads son Tejashwi Yadav whom he had made his deputy cropping up in money laundering cases and the RJDs stubborn refusal to heed suggestions that the young leader resign on moral grounds.
Subsequently, Kumar put in his papers in July, 2017 but formed a new government within less than 24 hours as the BJP came up with its offer of support.
The NDA in Bihar now also comprises Ram Vilas Paswans LJP and the three-party coalition decimated the opposition in the Lok Sabha polls, grabbing 39 out of 40 seats in the state.
Kishor’s comment was also frowned upon by RCP Singh, JD (U)’S national general secretary (organization) and its leader in the Rajya Sabha, who described it as an “untimely” statement on the seat-sharing formula for the upcoming assembly election.
Opposition parties in the state like Congress, RJD and RLSP gleefully looked at the possibility of conflict within the NDA, which had been appearing invincible since the general elections in which it won 39 out of 40 seats.