JD(U) asks BJP in Bihar to rein in loudmouth leaders

PTI file photo

The JD(U), headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on Wednesday asked its ally - the BJP - to take action against its leaders who had been speaking on issues already settled by the top brass, thereby violating the "coalition dharma".

Party spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan Prasad issued a statement here to the effect, taking strong exception to a comment by BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan, who had begrudged his party for reposing its trust in Kumar for the assembly polls, due this year.

"The people of Bihar now want to see a BJP leader as the chief minister... We are in a position to form a government in the state on our own, though we shall abide by whatever decision Narendra Modi and Sushil Modi (Deputy CM and BJP leader) take," Paswan had told a section of media here on Wednesday.

The state BJP was quick to distance itself from the comments of Paswan - a former Union minister who had raised the JD(U)'s hackles a few months ago with similar remarks, following it up with a meeting in the national capital with Giriraj Singh. Speculation was rife that the MLC was being egged on by the Union minister, a known detractor of Kumar.

"Sanjay Paswan is a senior and respected leader of our party. He may have said something in his personal capacity. It is not the party's official stand, though," BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand had said.

Prasad, however, claimed that a JD(U) member would have "faced consequences" in a similar circumstance.

"Had a member of the JD(U) been guilty of repeatedly violating coalition dharma in this manner, he would have faced the consequences for sure. I hope the BJP takes note of leaders who keep shooting their mouths off, despite Amit Shah's intervention, and act against them," he said.

Shah, the party president and Union home minister, has said in more than a couple of TV interviews in the recent past that Kumar - who is serving his third consecutive term as chief minister - will be the NDA's face in the assembly polls.

The JD(U) spokesman also expressed displeasure over statements by some opposition leaders who had alleged that Kumar's acquittal in a two-decade-old murder case and the CBI's submission in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal, contending that no inmate of the care unit was killed, were tradeoffs in exchange for the party's support to the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament.

"The Supreme Court should take cognizance of such utterances which are shameful and denote contempt for the court's verdict, besides malice towards the chief minister. We also wish to draw the people's attention towards the hypocrisy of the Congress on this entire episode," Prasad said.

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said its leaders are hitting the streets in protest against the new citizenship law though Shanti Dhariwal, parliamentary affairs minister of Rajasthan -- where the party is in power -- had told the assembly that Hindus who have migrated to the state from Pakistan would be granted citizenship and special camps would be set up for conducting the exercise.

"The Congress has launched a nationwide campaign against the National Population Register (NPR). It should tell the people that the exercise was last conducted in 2010 when the UPA was in power," he added.

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