On a day Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to withdraw his DNA remarks, the Bharatiya Janata Party hit back at JD(U) leader for equating his "supreme arrogance with the identity of Bihar".
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took on Kumar and questioned what kind of Bihari identity he showed by declining a dinner invite to Modi and returning Rs 5 crore and other relief material he (Modi) as the then Gujarat chief minister in 2010 had sent to Bihar to help flood victims.
Prasad said it was the height of Kumar's arrogance that he was linking the honour of Bihar with him. "Nitish ji, do not equate your arrogance with the great identity of Bihar which is much greater, nobler, soberer and humbler (than yours)," he told reporters.
But a sharper retort came from Sushil Kumar Modi, who was deputy chief minister under Kumar when BJP was part of the coalition government in Bihar.
"Now that Kumar is in the company Congress, he is confusing himself for Bihar," he said recalling the famous remarks of Congress leader late D K Barua, who had once said," India is Indira and Indira is India".
Modi, at a BJP rally in Muzaffarpur on July 25 had recalled how Kumar withdrew a dinner invitation to saffron party leaders following newspaper advertisements by the Gujarat government highlighting donations for the Kosi flood victims.
Modi had said Kumar "snatched" the plate from him but he felt hurt more when he also "disrespected" a Mahadalit leader former chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Modi went on to say, "There seems to be some problem with his (Kumar's) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy you respect even your political rivals."
Sushil Kumar Modi said, the Prime Minister was referring to Kumar's "political DNA".
"Nitish Kumar's DNA is that of betraying friends and allies whereas the DNA of Bihar represents harmony and welcoming a guest with dignity. DNA of Bihar does not teach anybody to snatch a plate kept in front of a guest after calling him for dinner," the BJP leader, a strong contender for chief ministership in the event of the party coming to power, said.
(With inputs from PTI)