PATNA: Deepening the rift with senior party colleague Pavan Varma, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said the former is free to go anywhere he wants.
The remark came in response to a second letter that the former diplomat and Rajya Sabha member shot off on Wednesday, seeking “ideological clarity” in the wake of the party’s support to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the tie-up with the BJP for the Delhi Assembly elections.
In a terse response to Varma’s letter, the CM said there is no ambiguity on his party’s position on the Act and the alliance with the BJP and decisions on these fronts were arrived at after a good deal of thought.
“If anyone wishes to go somewhere else, he is free to do so. I wish him well,” the CM said on the sidelines of a function organised on Thursday to mark the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Earlier, Varma went public with the content of a ‘private conversation’ with the CM, during which the latter is claimed to have voiced his misgivings on the alliance with the BJP.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on JDU leader Pawan Verma's letter to him on CAA and NRC: If anyone has any issues then the person can discuss it within party or at party meetings, but such kind of public statements are surprising. He can go and join any party he likes, my best wishes pic.twitter.com/GjmKOZtquM— ANI (@ANI) January 23, 2020
The CM said, “He is a learned man and I have a lot of respect for him. But I have been dismayed by his public statements of late.”
He said, “If he (Varma), or anyone for that matter, has any issue with it (alliance), he should raise it in party forums instead of going public.”
Quizzed on his response to the letter allegedly quoting him as advocating a ‘BJP and RSS-mukt Bharat’, a visibly upset Nitish said, “Should I go public with what he (Varma) told me in private?”
Later on Thursday, the JD(U) called a meeting of all its MPs, MLAs and top office bearers on January 28.
All issues, including the dissent on the party’s support to CAA and the alliance with the BJP, are likely to figure in the discussions.