The opposition BJP in Bihar on Thursday said that its doors were “closed” for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who dumped the saffron party a year ago, stripping it of power in the state.
State BJP President Samrat Choudhary made the averment to this effect in reply to queries from journalists about the Janata Dal United leader’s address to the convocation ceremony of Mahatma Gandhi Central University at Motihari.
Speaking in the presence of President Droupadi Murmu and Governor Rajendra Arlekar, Mr Kumar had freely spoken of the tussle he had with the then Congress government at the Centre for getting a university approved for Motihari, where Mahatma Gandhi had launched the Champaran Satyagraha.
Without mentioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi by name, Mr Kumar acknowledged that the project saw the light of the day only after a change of guard “in 2014” as the UPA government “initially refused and after much persuasion agreed in principle but did not move forward”.
The occasion was also marked by Mr Kumar swearing by his “lifelong personal friendship” with Radha Mohan Singh, the local BJP MP who held the crucial agriculture portfolio in the first Modi cabinet.
When Mr Choudhary was asked about Mr Kumar’s remarks at the convocation ceremony, the BJP leader uttered the Bihari proverb “doodh bhaat”, often used to mock childish behaviour.
“Only yesterday we saw the CM trying to act chummy with the governor while sharing the stage on a solemn occasion,” said Mr Choudhary, referring to the launch of “Fourth Agriculture Roadmap”.
Mr Kumar had, while speaking at the function, turned towards Governor Rajendra Arlekar and said, “You may be the Centre’s appointee but I have nothing against it”.
Mr Choudhary, however, said, “Nitish Kumar should be grateful towards Narendra Modi not just for the central university but also for financial assistance to the tune of billions of rupees”.
He also said “Mr Kumar should thank PM Modi” for his current tenure.
“The PM lived up to his promise of supporting the JDU leader for another term in office though the latter’s party was drubbed in the assembly elections,” Mr Choudhary said, adding that “as far as his talk of personal friendship with any BJP leader goes, we need to assert that our party is run on the basis of policy and not personal equations”.
“Our Home Minister Amit Shah has made it clear that our doors are closed forever for Nitish Kumar,” Mr Choudhary said.
Notably, after dumping the BJP in August last year, Mr Kumar had survived in power as a result of an alliance he formed with the Mahagathbandhan, comprising arch-rival Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Congress and three Left-wing parties.
Charging the BJP with trying to destabilise the JDU while in alliance, Mr Kumar had vowed to defeat the NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls by bringing together opposition parties across the country.
His efforts culminated in the formation of the INDIA coalition.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)