Wading into BJP politics, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today accused his estranged ally of "betraying" and "cornering" elders in the party in an oblique reference to the sidelining of L K Advani over the Narendra Modi issue.
"Those who have betrayed and cornered their own elders have no right to point fingers at others. Those who cannot respect their elders and sideline them within the party have no right to blame us," Kumar told reporters emerging from his "Janata ke darbar me Mukhya Mantri" programme at his residence here.
Advani was miffed over Modi being anointed the party's campaign commitee chief, an event that triggered the split within the NDA with the JD(U) seeing this as the first step before the Gujarat Chief Minister is named as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Asked whether the fate of veteran socialist leader George Fernandes within JD(U) was similar to that of Advani, Kumar said, "It's not true...he (Fernandes) is bed-ridden and we every now and then visit him to know about his health."
Some of his so called well wishers advised him to fight the 2009 Lok Sabha elections (from Muzaffarpur in Bihar) despite his ill health. These well wishers ran away from him after his defeat."
"Later I approached him and asked if he would like to go to Rajya Sabha to which he agreed and accordingly JD(U) sent him to the Upper House," he said adding, "JD(U) believes in respecting elders."
Rejecting BJP's charge of betrayal, Kumar blamed the saffron party for "creating an environment" in which his party had to leave the NDA and criticised it for misinterpreting his old speech at a Railway function in Gujarat in Modi's favour.
"Kya vishwasghat kiya (what betrayal have we done).
They have actually betrayed us by creating an environment in which our staying with them was not possible," he said.
Kumar said his party's decision to snap ties with the BJP was "not taken in a haste" and it happened after "due deliberations" and at the "appropriate time".
The JD(U) leader said, "further waiting over it would have been cheating onself" as the central leaders of BJP were not ready to give any assurance and were only asking us to put on hold a decision on the split.
"Our parting of ways with the NDA is BJP's failure. You created a situation in which the old allies walk away. An alliance does not run under compulsion.
"If you do not leave any way out for the ally...If any party wants to form a government (at the Centre), the responsibility is of that party to get support of other parties if it is not in a position to get the numbers on its own. And here an old ally was forced to leave," Kumar said.
To the charge that he as a Railway minister at a function in Gujarat in 2003 had praised Modi for good work, Kumar said, "The protocol says that in government function a union minister is not supposed to criticise a state government."
"As a union minister are we suppose to make political speech at an official function?" Kumar asked when reminded about an old CD containing his speech at Kutch.
"Besides, this shows I have been so important to them and now have become a cause of worry," he said.
Asked about the prospects of JD(U)'s alliance with Congress, Kumar said "door ki baat hain" (it is premature to talk about it).
"My immediate concern is how to go ahead fulfilling the trust of the mandate people have given us in state Assembly in 2010," he said.
"I am endowed with this responsibility and will make all efforts to fulfil the promise made to the people," he said.
With BJP in Bihar announcing to observe a "Vishwaghat Day" tomorrow to protest JD(U) splitting NDA, Kumar said "I have no complaint against state BJP leaders. We stayed together and worked for the welfare of the people but external forces on which they had no control destroyed this."