NEW DELHI: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's call for an RSS-free India, today received support from Congress which said the saffron fountainhead was "posing a threat to the country's unity and democracy" as BJP jumped to the defence of its mentor, saying its critics should attend its 'shakha' for a day to clear their "misconceptions".
The BJP said it was unfazed by Kumar's efforts to form a united front to counter it and that such attempts to stop the Modi government "from working for the development of the country and for the poor will not succeed".
Maintaining that everyone was aware of the newly-elected JD(U) chief's national ambitions, BJP spokesman Shrikant Sharma took a dig at the Congress, asking party president Sonia Gandhi to make it clear if Rahul Gandhi will lead such a front or will he be just part of it.
Congress backed Nitish Kumar's view that the country should be made 'Sangh-mukt' (RSS-free) as it is "posing a threat to democracy and unity" but did not appear inclined to be a part of a broad-based alliance of secular parties to take on BJP, saying for any national-level alliance ahead of 2019 polls, parties should have a "national existence".
Asked if Nitish Kumar can be projected as the leader of a national-level alliance he has mooted, party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said he is "a popular chief minister" who is doing good work in Bihar.
"There is no talk of leadership (led by Nitish)...You are trying to create an imaginary alliance. I told you first, an alliance at the national level...all parties are state specific parties. The understanding is with such parties in states.
"By the time 2019 elections come, the public themselves will oust the Modi government and there will be no need for any alliance," Ahmed said, replying to queries about the possibility of forging a Nitish-led national alliance.
Congress is part of ruling alliance in Bihar.
Addressing an event in Patna yesterday, Kumar had mounted a counteroffensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his 'Congress-mukt Bharat' slogan, saying, "Sangh-mukt Bharat banane ke liye sabhi gair BJP parties ko ek hona hoga (to usher in a Sangh-free India all non-BJP parties will have to come together)."
"Uniting against BJP and its divisive ideology is the only way to save democracy," said Kumar, who has already talked about "largest possible unity" among secular parties.