Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has claimed he had an inkling from the very beginning that his alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD “would not last for more than a year-and-a-half”, drawing a sharp rebuke from Tejashwi Yadav, who said “paltu chacha” (turncoat uncle) had vicious plans beforehand.
Addressing reporters on the sidelines of his weekly Lok Samvad programme, Kumar said despite his unpleasant feelings about the Grand Alliance, he managed to carry on for 20 months. “The very day the Mahagathbandhan government was installed, I had said to those close to me that this was not going to last for more than a year-and-a-half. I still managed to carry on for 20 months,” PTI quoted the JD(U) chief as saying.
The Grand Alliance, comprising of Congress, RJD and JD(U), collapsed in July last year after the chief minister resigned over corruption charges against his then deputy, Tejashwi Yadav. Kumar then united with BJP to form another coalition government in Bihar. Kumar also asserted that he did not ask the coalition partners to make him the CM. “I had not asked them (RJD) to declare me as the chief ministerial candidate, nor did my party make any such demand. They took the decision themselves, realising its poll prospects. They keep accusing me of betraying the mandate. We had got the mandate to govern, not to indulge in corruption,” Kumar said.
Tejashwi, the younger son of Lalu, said Kumar’s remarks revealed that he was just an excuse for the CM quitting the Grand Alliance. “Tejashwi was just an excuse. Paltu chacha (turncoat uncle) had vicious plans beforehand. The respected 67-year-old should be ashamed that he made a 28-year-old an excuse for his shenanigans. Uncle, you could have parted ways like a man,” Yadav said.
वही तो मैं शुरू से कह रहा हूँ कि तेजस्वी तो बहाना था। पलटू चाचा के दिमाग में पहले से ही ज़हर था। 67 साल के आदरणीय बूढ़े आदमी को शर्म आनी चाहिए कि उन्होंने 28 साल के नौजवान को अपनी कुर्सी के कुकर्म छिपाने का बहाना बनाया। अरे चाचा, मर्दों की तरह छोड़कर जाते। http://t.co/KJak384AyG
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) February 12, 2018
Former JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said Kumar was suffering from pangs of guilt for his U-turn. “If he (Kumar) knew that the alliance was not going to last, why did he agree for such a tie-up in the first place. It is an illogical thing to say. He is suffering from pangs of guilt for his volte face and trying to justify his actions by such utterances,” Yadav told a TV news channel in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Kumar also defended RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat over his remarks comparing Swayamsevaks with the Army. The JD(U) chief said there was nothing wrong if a civil organisation spoke about defending the nation’s borders. “He has talked about readiness of his organisation for defending the country’s border. It should be welcomed if any civil organisation does that. I don’t think there is any harm in that.”
His comments came after a row erupted over Bhagwat’s statement in Muzaffarpur on Sunday where he had said that while it took six months for the Army to train and prepare for battle, RSS could do that within three days. On Monday, RSS said the statement had been misconstrued and he never intended to compare RSS workers with the Army.