The war of words between two erstwhile National Democratic Alliance allies on Sunday escalated with the Bharatiya Janata Party slamming Nitish Kumar for seeking Rashtriya Janata Dal support for his candidates in the Rajya Sabha bypoll for two seats, and Janata Dal-United accusing the saffron party of ‘tacitly backing’ two Independents.
“Kumar has compromised his moral ground, principles and pride by soliciting the RJD supremo’s support to the JD-U candidates in the Rajya Sabha bypoll next week within a month of attacking him for being a symbol of lawlessness... during its 15-year-long jungle raj,” senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said in a tweet.
“Is any principle and pride left in him (Kumar) anymore after speaking to Lalu Prasad on phone to seek his party’s support to two JD-U candidates for Rajya Sabha polls in which two Independent candidates too are in fray?” the former deputy chief minister said.
Giving back Kumar in the same coin a day after the former chief minister had questioned BJP’s moral rights for reportedly backing two Independent candidates, Modi recalled that it was at Kumar’s behest that RJD was dismembered with its 13 MLAs being granted status of a separate group by the Speaker by breaking all norms earlier this year.
Hitting back at BJP, a Bihar minister and senior JD-U leader accused it of “tacitly backing” two Independents against the ruling party nominees and questioned the saffron party as to why it had deferred its stand till June 18. “If you (BJP) have no sinister game plan to rock the boat of the two JD(U) candidates -- Pawan Verma and Gulam Rasool Baliyawi -- in the bypoll on June 19, why you have decided to make public your decision on the issue by as late as June 18?” Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said.
By delaying announcing its strategy, BJP might want to buy MLAs from other parties to ensure victory of the two Independent candidates, he alleged.
Meanwhile, RJD president Lalu Prasad on Sunday said he would take any decision on extending support to JD-U candidates only after consulting his party legislators and well-wishers.
Image: Janata Dal-United member Nitish Kumar.