BJP, JD-U widening rift threatens Bihar alliance (Roundup)

June 20th, 2010 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Patna/New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar widened Sunday after his deputy boycotted a joint march in rural Patna and the BJP gave “a strong message” to the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) veteran to behave.
A miffed Nitish Kumar, who had been upset with the BJP ever since it held its national executive meet in Patna a week ago, hit back by cancelling a Sunday evening march he was to take part along with Sushil Kumar Modi, the BJP’s deputy deputy chief minister.

State minister and BJP leader N.K. Yadav, who represents the Patna City constituency, also backed out from the chief minister’s “Vishwas Yatra”.

An angry Sushil Modi told reporters that he had cancelled his programme with the chief minister at Paliganj because “I don’t want to accompany him”.

The face-off between Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi was accompanied by mounting tensions between the two ruling Bihar parties even as the Left egged the chief minister to snap all ties with the BJP.

Fearing that Nitish Kumar could do a Naveen Patnaik, BJP president Nitin Gadkari sent “a strong message” to the JD-U. The message was conveyed by BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain to JD-U president Sharad Yadav, who insisted that all was well between the two parties.

Sharad Yadav said the alliance would continue. “Our alliance with the NDA is old and our intention is that it should continue. We fought the Rajya Sabha polls together,” he told reporters in Delhi after Hussain met him.

Hussain said BJP leaders will discuss the developments in Bihar Monday.

The row was triggered after advertisements featuring Nitish Kumar and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the latter’s reference to the aid provided by Gujarat during the 2008 Kosi floods.

An angry Nitish Kumar Saturday returned the relief money of Rs. 5 crore, intensifying the war that has threatened the 14-year-old alliance in Bihar in Bihar where assembly elections are slated for October-November.

“Nitish Kumar must re-consider his decision that has taken the entire country by surprise. He must realise that the relief fund provided by the Gujarat government was not any kind of debt that can be returned… One can return the debt, but not the assistance,” senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra told reporters in Lucknow.

But Nitish Kumar has justified his decision, saying the Gujarat government and Narendra Modi erred by talking about their aid to Bihar.

Some BJP leaders, including Public Health and Engineering Minister Ashwani Kumar Chaubey, Road Minister Prem Kumar and Cooperatives Minister Griraj Singh, have openly questioned the decision to return the aid money. They called it “unfortunate” and an insult to the people of both states.

BJP legislator Rameshwar Chowrasia said the people would not pardon Nitish Kumar.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) Sunday backed Nitish Kumar’s decision to return to the flood relief and asked him to sever ties with the BJP.

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan said the whole episode was a “drama” to get minority votes in the upcoming assembly elections. They also dared the BJP to snap ties with the JD-U.

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