Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shatrughan Sinha said on Sunday he will never make any statement that will "harm" his party, a day after his praise for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar sparked speculations over new political equations in the poll-bound state.
"I have good personal relations with Nitishji. It wasn't the first time I was having tea with him," Sinha told ANI, referring to his meeting with the Janata Dal (United) leader whom he described as the "guardian of the state".
Sinha, a former Bollywood actor, met Kumar on Saturday after a "courtesy call", on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA's) assembly election campaign in Bihar, where polls will be held later this year.
The BJP MP said he discussed with Kumar development projects in the state and his constituency, Patna Sahib, in particular.
"No politics should be seen in the meeting. It is well known that we are old friends and respect each other. Even Prime Minister said there should be no untouchability in politics," he said after the meeting.
On Sunday, he reiterated: "I don't want to drag politics in personal friendship...There's nothing wrong in praising someone."
Stressing his loyality for the BJP, Sinha said: "I joined the BJP at a time when it was a party with two seats. Since then, I have shared the joys and hardships of the party."
The NDA in Bihar is pitted against an alliance of Kumar's JD(U), Lalu Prasad's RJD and the Congress. Other parties of the so-called Janata Parivar and the Aam Aadmi Party are backing them.
The JD(U) and the BJP were alliance partners for 15 years till they split ahead of the Lok Sabha elections over the projection of Modi as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate.
In the 2010 assembly elections, the BJP-JD(U) alliance bagged 206 of the 243 total seats. Even after the split the BJP-led alliance fared well, winning 31 of the 40 Lok sabha seats in 2014.