Rahul Gandhi’s (38) praise for Janata Dal (U) leader Nitish Kumar (58), hinting that he may switch over sides is “like the Dev Anand-starrer Jewel Thief, according to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strategist Arun Jaitely (56).
Jaitely said as in the movie “everyone goes on saying that the principal character is Amar, and not Vinay, the Congress is trying to show that Nitish is not with the NDA (the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance).”
Earlier, Congress general secretary Gandhi sought to create flutters in the BJP camp by praising Bihar chief minister Kumar. Stressing that “we know what exactly Nitish thinks and said and what got reported,” the BJP general secretary said Rahul Gandhi’s statements were to offset the “disaster” caused by Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s remark that his party was ready to sit in the Opposition.
Confirming that Kumar would join the other NDA chief ministers at Ludhiana on May 10 for a mega rally, Jaitely said, “Nitish has clarified his position so many times and yet, the Congress has been persisting with the line that he’s coming over to their side.”
Jaitely’s reason for having Kumar in Punjab is to woo Bihari voters in the two Lok Sabha constituencies – Ludhiana and Jalandhar – for the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance, which is facing a challenge from the Congress.
He said, “Just because the Congress arithmetic is going haywire, it is hallucinating about the outcome. The next fortnight (when the last two phases of voting take place) will give a befitting reply to them.” The BJP would not buy the Congress claim about NDA allies breaking away, said Jaitely.