NEW DELHI: A tweet by Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Tuesday questioning the “extra-enthusiasm” of JD-U chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and ‘some NDA leaders’ for Iftaars over Navratra, exploded into a fresh political battle with the Opposition pointing to a growing divide between the JD-U and BJP.
The NDA leaders have claimed there was no rift whatsoever.
Trying to rein in the growing discomfort between the allies, BJP chief and Union Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday rebuked Singh and asked him to refrain from making such remarks, party sources said.
Kumar, Deputy CM and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan— all NDA allies— were seen hand in hand and all smiles at an Iftar ceremony hosted by Paswan in Patna on Monday.
In the context of the recent controversy over the JD-U not joining the Union Cabinet and Nitish Kumar not accommodating NDA allies while expanding the Bihar ministry, Giriraj’s tweet was construed as an attack on the CM.
Nitish Kumar had turned down BJP’s offer of a single seat in the cabinet on May 30, saying he believed in proportional berths for allies and not mere tokenism.
Last Sunday, Kumar filled in vacancies in his cabinet inducting eight ministers but not a single member from the LJP or the BJP.
JD-U leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashok K Chaudhary bitterly criticised Giriraj for his ‘out of place’ tweet.
Chowdhury said, “Had anybody stopped Giriraj from arranging phalahaar during Navaratra? I wish to warn him, not the entire BJP, but him alone that he must refrain from making such statements. He must remember that his party is part of a coalition government in Bihar and he owes his stupendous victory in the Lok Sabha polls in no small measure to the support of our Kumar,” Chowdhury said.
JD(U) spokesman Sanjay Singh said, “We have never taken utterances of Giriraj seriously.”