CONTINUING THEIR war of words, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Tuesday made charge after charge against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, calling him the biggest “Palturam (turncoat)” in India’s political history and suggesting that Nitish should chant slogans for Prime Minister Narendra Modi by beating a drum and shouting “Jai Siya Ram”.
The RJD chief, facing heat in the CBI’s case of alleged irregularities in sale of Indian Railway hotels during his tenure as Railways Minister, pointed out that Nitish did not want to share space on posters with him even before the 2015 Assembly polls. And neither did he want joint posters for RJD’s forthcoming rally on August 27 against communalism, Lalu said.
“He hates me…. He becomes uneasy at the stench coming from the poor — he is the one who uses Dettol and sanitiser,” Lalu said, indicating that Nitish is uncomfortable at the sight of the poor. Lalu’s criticisms came a day after Nitish unleashed a volley of charges against the RJD chief.
Accusing Nitish of foisting CBI cases against his family with the BJP’s help, Lalu said his own “foolishness” stopped him from believing that Nitish would not go with the BJP, although he “always awaited” an opening. He warned Nitish of the BJP’s ways and wondered how long the saffron party would keep his company.
Lalu said it is painful that the chief minister is “ill-treating” a senior party leader like Sharad Yadav, who had helped Nitish in his political growth. “I have invited Sharadji to join the August 27 rally,” Lalu said, adding that he has not invited Yadav to join the RJD.
He claimed he had always tried to bail Nitish out of difficult political situations — be it supporting JD(U)’s Rajya Sabha candidates or extending outside support to Nitish’s government after he walked out of the NDA in 2013. He also asserted that Nitish was politically finished had the RJD not ensured his return as CM after Jitan Ram Manjhi’s ouster.
Replying to Nitish’s charge that Lalu had called him “poison” while declaring him the CM candidate, the RJD chief said, “… I never wanted to declare him CM, because I never trusted the man. I did not make the announcement because I had to answer my constituency, and I used the term swallowing poison in the context of doing everything possible to fight communal forces…. I could sense his design when we decided to contest 101 seats each, leaving 41 for the Congress. He would have calculated that if JD(U) and Congress got majority, Nitish would not have required me.”