With senior JD (U) leaders Pavan K Varma and Prashant Kishor stepping up attacks on his alliance partner BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar struck back Thursday, saying Varma was free to chart his future and “go wherever he wants”. He did not, however, comment on Kishor who, a day earlier, had dared Union Home Minister Shah to “implement CAA and NRC in the chronological order” he had once said.
On Varma, the Chief Minister told reporters: “If anyone had any problem, he could have discussed it at a party meeting or personally. This is not the way to do it. The way he spoke on certain things is not proper. Should I be telling you what he told me? But I have respect for him. He can go wherever he wants. I wish him well.”
Two days ago, Varma went public with a letter he had written to Kumar. Questioning his party’s decision to extend its alliance with the BJP “beyond Bihar” and fight the Delhi Assembly elections together, Varma, who is also the party’s national spokesperson, sought “ideological clarity” from Kumar who he said had expressed “grave apprehensions” in private about the BJP leading the country into a “dangerous space”.
In the letter, Varma said Kumar “on more than one occasion” had expressed “grave apprehensions about the BJP-RSS combine” and that “you had spoken to me at length and with conviction on why Narendra Modi and his policies are inimical for the country. When you were leading Mahagathbandhan, you had openly made a call for ‘RSS-mukt Bharat’.”
On Thursday, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said his party’s ties with JD (U) was “unbreakable”.
“There are some people who do not like Bihar to grow under NDA rule. BJP and JD (U) have been working together in government for over 12 years now. But there are some people who cannot digest it and are looking at ways to break the alliance,” he said.
Without naming Varma and Kishor, Modi said: “There are some people who Nitish Kumar elevated to good positions from nowhere. But these are the ones who are turning out to be troublemakers for Nitish Kumar.”
JD (U) sources said the party was also upset with Prashant Kishor for “exceeding his brief”. While JD (U) state president and Rajya Sabha MP Bashistha Narayan Singh said he would discuss the recent statements of Varma and Kishor with Nitish Kumar, a senior party leader said Kishor and Varma had been sent a message by “not being included among star campaigners” of JD (U) for the Delhi Assembly polls.
Responding to Kumar, Varma told The Indian Express, “Whatever questions I have raised are about seeking ideological clarity of the party post CAA-NRC-NPR… Details of my letter to the Bihar CM are not from a one-on-one conversation. Other leaders were also present. I am still waiting for the CM’s answer before I can decide on my another course of action.”
He also said that his not being included as a “star campaigner” for the Delhi polls was “inconsequential” as he was opposed to his party’s alliance with BJP in Delhi.
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