With Bihar Chief Minister and ally JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar's returning the flood relief money given by Gujarat, BJP today said the funds were given in a spirit of solidarity and empathy with the victims and wondered if these sentiments were also being sent back.
"When the money was given it was as a token of solidarity, empathy and grief felt by the people of Gujarat for the suffering endured by flood affected people of Bihar," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told PTI.
She noted that Kumar's decision has come subsequent to an advertisement given by some Bihari youth in local newspapers.
"The money was received in the same spirit by Bihar in which it was given by Gujarat. Now due to a certain advertisement, the Chief Minister has chose to return the money. I wonder if only the money is being returned or also the feeling of empathy, solidarity and spirit of togetherness is also being returned," Sitharaman said.
During the recent BJP national executive in Patna, some Bihari youth working in Gujarat had published advertisements in local newspapers thanking Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for helping Bihar during the 2008 Kosi floods.
Kumar had termed this claim "uncivilised", saying any gesture of help should not be proclaimed publicly and threatened to return the unspent amount to Gujarat.
Kumar returned Rs 5 crore to Gujarat on Saturday.
The JD(U) leader's posturing is understood to be in keeping with his attempt to woo the Muslim electorate in poll-bound Bihar.
He had also vociferously objected to another advertisement depicting him holding hands with Narendra Modi, the hardline Hindutva face of key ally BJP.