Rattled by Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi's open overtures to Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, UPA partner leaders Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday voiced their unhappiness over the move.
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi lauding Nitish Kumar for the developmental work done in the state, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad made no attempt to hide his ire. He told reporters: "Nitish koi achha kaam nahi kiya hai (Nitish has not done any good work)."
He added, "Neither is the Congress ours nor are we in Congress."
Lok Janshakti Party leader and Bihar leader Ram Vilas Paswan too made apparent his irritation at the Congress general secretary's speech. "If Nitish has done good work, then why has the Congress pitched its candidates against him? Kya bolte hain Rahul? (What is Rahul talking about)."
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Arun Jaitley, asked for his reaction to the Congress wooing a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner, said Rahul Gandhi is 'hallucinating'.
To a question whether his party was nervous at the prospect of losing Nitish Kumar to the Congress, Jaitley said: "Where is the question of being nervous? He (Rahul Gandhi) is hallucinating. Nitish is an integral part of the NDA."
Jaitley continued: "They (Congress) have sensed defeat and hence they are making such comments. They can unilaterally keep making decisions, despite Nitish rebuffing him."
Rahul Gandhi at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday morning praised the work done by Nitish Kumar and also made overtures towards Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Chandrababu Naidu.
"Chandrababu Naidu did a reasonably good job (as Andhra Pradesh chief minister). He focussed on Hyderabad, he went on the wrong bend perhaps, but I respect him," he said.
Rahul Gandhi said some leaders in the opposition had also done good work in their states, "Nitish (Kumar), for example".
Rahul Gandhi's praise of Nitish Kumar comes a few days after Congress leader and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said in a television interview that there was a possibility of Nitish Kumar switching over to the United Progressive Alliance after the polls.