Gloves off: It's Nitish Kumar vs Prashant Kishor

Gloves off: Go if you want, says Nitish Kumar; You're a liar, says Kishor

Clearly indicating a point of no return, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) Vice President Prashant Kishor locked horns on Tuesday with the election strategist accusing the former of lying about the role of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his induction into the party.

Tension has been simmering in Kumar-led JD(U) over its stand on Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) with Kishor and another leader Pavan K Varma taking a stand against the party the legislation. Kumar has later announced that the state will oppose NPR and NRC.

The war between the duo reached a crescendo on Tuesday afternoon with Kumar firing the first shot when he targeted both Kishor and Varma without taking their names during an interaction with media in Patna.

“Someone (Varma) wrote a letter I replied to it, Someone (Kishor) is tweeting, let him tweet. What do I have to do with it? One can stay in the party (JD-U) till he wants. He can go if he wants. Our party is different. What do we have to do with tweets? We are common people, our party is not of intellectuals. But we respect all. Do you know how did he (Kishor) join the party? Amit Shah asked me to induct him,” Kumar said.

Later in the evening, Kishor took to Twitter to counter Kumar in terse words, “Nitish Kumar, what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours! And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by Amit Shah?” Kishor also removed mention of JD(U) from his Twitter bio.

Kishor was in limelight for designing the BJP campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but fell out later. He was then roped in by JD(U) and Kumar inducted him into the party, while Kishor's IPAC also grabbed assignments from YSR Congress, Trinamool Congress and AAP. He also managed Congress campaign in Punjab and Uttarakhand Assembly elections.

He has been vocal against JD(U) support for CAA and was seen as the force behind persuading Kumar to take a stand against NRC though the party spoke in different voices on CAA.

Kishor-led IPAC is also managing campaign of AAP in the Delhi Assembly elections where JD(U) has entered into an alliance with BJP for the first time outside Bihar. Both Kishor and Varma, who shot off a letter to Kumar questioning the move, were not made star campaigners in the Delhi polls.

In his letter, Varma had targeted Kumar saying his private feelings, party's Constitution and the stand party takes in public should be reconciled. He also claimed that Kumar in private conversations had said that Narendra Modi, now Prime Minister, and his policies were “inimical” for the country and that the BJP was "destroying" institutions.