AMID THE apparent friction between Bihar allies RJD and JD(U) over their stands on demonetisation, RJD leader Rabri Devi took swipe at BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi Tuesday over the BJP’s attempt to woo Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“Modiji Nitish Kumar ko uthakar le jaaye aur apni bahan se shaadi karwa lein (Sushil Modi should give Nitish Kumar a lift and get him married to his sister),” said Rabri Devi, a former CM, responding to questions about Nitish possibly getting closer to the BJP following his support for demonetisation.
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Rabri Devi’s remark outside the Bihar Assembly drew a sharp reaction from Sushil Modi: “Rabri Devi’s statement is not only in bad taste but also an attempt at character assassination of the Bihar CM, She has already made uncharitable remarks on minister Rajiv Ranjan a.k.a. Lalan Singh’s relationship with Nitish Kumar. Now, Lalan Singh should explain if he should have withdrawn his defamation case against Rabri Devi.”
The JD (U), for its part, called for restraint from its alliance partner. “There is need for restraint,” said the JD(U)’s deputy leader in the Assembly Shyam Rajak.
Several RJD leaders tried to play down Rabri Devi’s statement but sources said there is obvious discomfort in the RJD camp over differences on demonetisation. The RJD was forced to rework its stand under pressure from Nitish. Having once decided to take part in the Bharat bandh over demonetisation, it eventually decided against it and not all top party leaders took part in the Aakrosh march.
“Though it may look like an off-the-cuff remark from Rabri Devi, it does reflect the party’s see-saw relationship with Nitish,” said an RJD leader.
Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav refrained from reacting to his mother’s statement.
RJD national spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha told The Indian Express: “In these difficult times when bitter political barricading does not allow folk humour in politics, we urge everyone to recall that Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and Sushil Kumar Modi have enjoyed camaraderie since the JP Movement days. It is known that Sushil Kumar Modi and Rabri Devi enjoy a devar bhabhi relationship. Without assigning much meaning (into what Rabri Devi said), the matter should be put to rest.”