NDA crossfire in Bihar flares up with state BJP chief's FB post

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NDA crossfire in Bihar flares up with state BJP chief’s FB post
© Provided by Hindustan Times BJP Bihar state president Sanjay Jaiswal . (HT Photo)

PATNA The ongoing crossfire between the two key constituents of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar flared up on Monday when Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) state unit president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal warned ally Janata Dal (United) of chief minister Nitish Kumar that “76 lakh party workers know how to answer” if JD(U) leaders continue to tag Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter.

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BJP in Bihar has been increasingly assertive against JD(U) since it outperformed the ally in the 2020 assembly polls, picking 74 seats against 45 won by the latter.

In a hard-hitting post on Facebook on Monday, Jaiswal wrote, “To keep the NDA strong, we all will need to follow the basic decorum. It cannot be one sided. The first step in that direction is to stop playing Twitter-Twitter with PM, as he is the pride of every BJP leader and worker. If anything has to be said to him, the talks should be direct. If one plays Twitter-Twitter, the 76 lakh BJP workers know how to answer. I hope we all will take note of this.”

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Jaiswal was alluding to tweets by JD(U) leaders like its national president Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh and parliamentary board chief Upendra Kushwaha ssues like special status for Bihar, special assistance and withdrawal of award from the writer for objectionable portrayal of Emperor Ashok.

Jaiswal, who represents West Champaran in the Lok Sabha, further said there could not be anything more absurd than asking the PM to withdraw an award given by the President. JD(U) leaders like Kushwaha have been demanding that the awards given to Dayal Prakash Sinha, recipient of Padma Award and Sahitya Akademi Award, should be withdrawn after his controversial portrayal of Emperor Ashok, whose empire’s capital was Patliputra, the present day Patna.

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“We are 100 times more critical of Sinha than you. For you, it is an issue just like your campaign for educational improvement in Bihar (Kushwaha had launched it when he was not in JD-U), but Jan Sangh and BJP were born out of cultural nationalism. We cannot tolerate any tampering with our culture and golden legacy, but we also want the coming generations to be made aware of the deeds of Bakhtiar Khilji (Nitish Kumar’s ancestral place is Bakhtiarpur named after him and the BJP has been demanding renaming it) and Aurangzeb. In the last 74 years, there has been not even one instance when Padma Shri was returned. Wrestler Sushil Kumar has been convicted in murder. case, but the President has not withdrawn his medal, as there is no established yardstick for that. But the government has not been hesitant in cracking down on wrongdoers — be it in relation of hate speech or Dharm Sansad,” wrote Jaiswal, who had filed a police case against Sinha last week.

He said the Bihar government should first act on his FIR against Sinha, get him arrested and ensure punishment through speedy trial. “After that, a delegation of the Bihar government should meet President and press for withdrawal of award to a convict,” he wrote.

In an apparent reference to opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, which has been attacking the government, he wrote, “We certainly don’t want the CM house to become a place for extracting ransom for murder and kidnapping, like it happened before 2005.”

Jaiswal was referring to the 15-year RJD rule in Bihar that ended in 2005, when Nitish Kumar first became the chief minister.

The state BJP chief has often taken to Facebook to express his views. Of late, his attacks on ally JD(U) have been getting more direct.

In an earlier post on Sunday on the hooch deaths in Nitish Kumar’s home district of Nalanda, he had asked “if all the members of the 11 deceased families would be sent to jail”.

Asked to respond, JD(U)’s Kushwaha said on Monday. “A party does not take action. Action is taken by the government of which the BJP is also part. Any body found guilty in such incidents will not be spared by the Nitish government, ” he said, adding that the NDA was united as ever. “We raised the issue of disparaging comments against Emperor Ashok, and that is a separate issue. Everything that Jaiswal has written in his post need not be answered,” he said.

Kushwaha said he was with Jaiswal on the need to ensure that the NDA ran smoothly in state’s interest and it was the duty of all the constituents. “But our opposition on the issue of emperor Ashol will continue till withdrawal of award from Sinha, whether it is done at the level of President or PM. Please make it clear if you are with us on award withdrawal or not,” he tweeted.

Social analyst professor Nawal Kishore Choudhary said both BJP and JD-U were trying to appear bigger to each other, but none was in a position to dictate terms. “So, both will keep sparring, just keeping the opposition interested. Both know their limitations in Bihar and they will not cross the line unless it becomes impossible to continue,” he said.

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