PATNA: With relations between Bihar NDA partners JD(U) and RLSP plunging to a new low following a war of words between the two parties, there was indication on Monday that RLSP could use Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s use of the word “lowly” to justify its exit from the alliance.
Leaders of BJP, which recently agreed to contest the same number of seats as JD(U) but left RLSP dejected by offering it no more than two seats, anticipate trouble to the alliance’s electoral prospects from the escalating verbal war between JD(U) and RLSP. Kushwaha has willy-nilly set the stage for such a situation by citing the “DNA” jab that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had used for Nitish Kumar.
Speaking at a public event organised by a television channel last week, Kumar had declined to answer questions about Upendra Kushwaha. When the journalist pressed him to answer if he did not want to remain CM after the 2020 Assembly polls as Kushwaha had predicted, Kumar said: “Please do not take the standards so low. We are going higher. So do not take it so low.”
But Kushwaha, a leader from an OBC community like Kumar, latched on the word “lowly” and said the CM had used it to belittle him. At a rally in Muzaffarpur on Sunday, Kushwaha said: “I want to ask honourable Nitishjee. You termed Upendra Kushwaha neech (lowly). Please furnish the report of DNA test. Please tell what is in the report. Upendra Kushwaha conducts politics with honour.”
In 2015, when JD(U) was with RJD and Congress, Modi had attacked Nitish Kumar by saying at a rally in Bihar that there seemed to be some problem in his (Kumar’s) DNA. Kumar had taken umbrage and asked JD(U) workers and Bihar’s people to collect samples of their nails and hair to Delhi for a DNA test.
“Nitish Kumar feels unnerved by the rising stature of Upendra Kushwaha. Kumar’s use of the word ‘neech’ (lowly) indicates that he is worried because of his subsiding political support base,” said RLSP national general secretary Madhaw Anand.
JD(U) legislator and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said: “Nitish Kumar’s DNA is well known. It stands for his zero tolerance for those who make ‘Daily News Assets’. The entire country is aware of it. So if anyone has a stomach pain, it will not be cured with the medicine for headache. It is immaterial who says what”.
Sources in RLSP said if the party fails to get at least four seats to contest in NDA, it would quit and join the RJD-led Grand Alliance. “We will cite Nitish Kumar’s use of the word ‘lowly’ to justify our exit,” said a party leader.