By MANOJ CHAURASIA
PATNA—Is the ruling NDA government in Bihar headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar on its way out?
What has triggered this debate is the “blunt reply” from state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal who warned the JD-U leadership against “crossing the limits” and not to play “Twitter-Twitter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi”. At the same time, he added that he doesn’t want the Bihar CM House to be “captured” by others.
The harsh reply from the BJP which is the single largest party in the NDA comes in the wake of the continuing verbal spats between the two partners over various issues such as alleged character assassination of Emperor Ashoka, “failed” total prohibition and alliance break-up for UP assembly polls.
Especially the JD-U leadership—from national party president Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh to JD-U national parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha—had been livid over the way Padma Shree awardee and Sahitya Academy award winning writer Daya Prakash Sinha compared Ashoka with Aurangzeb and had been tagging the PMO as well as the Prime Minister to their tweets for some time, demanding that awards be taken back from the writer. But the very move has resulted in strong protests and warnings from the BJP which the JD-U, perhaps, never expected.
“Why do you keep tagging me and the central leadership in your tweets? We all have to stay within our limits in the alliance. It cannot be one-sided anymore. The first condition of this limit is that you cannot play Twitter Twitter with the Prime Minister. If you do that and raise questions, then 76 lakh BJP workers in Bihar can give a fitting answer. I am sure you will be careful in future,” Jaiswal wrote in his long Facebook post today.
He went on to add that it’s everyone’s responsibility to run the Bihar government with mutual understanding and in a happy atmosphere. “We don’t want the CM House go into the hands of the persons accused of rape and extortion,” Jaiswal categorically mentioned, indirectly threatening to withdraw support from the JD-U. He said if the JD-U leaders have any problems, they should directly meet the central BJP leaders, sit together and thrash out the differences.
Describing JD-U’s demand to take back awards from controversial writer Sinha as “nonsensical”, the state BJP chief suggested the former to first arrest the writer in the light of FIR registered against him, speedily try the case and then call on the President with its demand. “There can’t be anything more nonsensical then asking PM to take back the awards,” he said.
Reacting to Jaiswal’s move, Kushwaha said their protests would continue until the awards were taken back from the writer. He also expected the BJP leadership to behave properly to run the NDA government.
The Rashtriya Janata Da Jal (RJD) which is the main opposition party in the state asked the chief minister to show guts to give proper reply to the BJP. “Enough is enough. The chief minister should wake up his conscience and resign now with the BJP has virtually threatened to get the CM House vacated. The RJD is ready to lend its support after forgetting the past differences,” RJD spokesperson Mrintunjay Tiwari said today.
The BJP has also questioned the chief minister over the liquor ban following deaths of several persons after consuming spurious liquor. “If the liquor ban is successful in Bihar, how the people are dying after consuming illicit liquor and how the liquor bottles are being delivered at their door steps?” asked the BJP, accusing the top officials of being hand in glove with the liquor mafias.
But what apparently caused fire in their relationship is the BJP leadership’s reluctance to enter into alliance with the JD-U for UP assembly polls. This has compelled the JD-U to go it alone in the UP where it doesn’t have any base. For the past several months, the JD-U had been eagerly trying to seal the seat-sharing deal with the BJP and was hopeful of getting positive response but the latter didn’t show any interest in the JD-U’s demand.