Targeting Narendra Modi for the second time in a week, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said the NDA government would not have lost power in the 2004 general elections had the Gujarat government been dismissed in the wake of the 2002 riots.
Kumar's remarks came close on the heels of his stating that NDA needs a "secular" candidate as PM for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which were construed as an attack on Modi.
"The NDA government would not have lost power in 2004 general elections if Vajpayee had been allowed to sack the Modi government for not adhering to 'raj dharma'," he told a group of news channel reporters at the JD(U) office in Patna.
Vajpayee, who had castigated Modi for his failure to abide by the 'raj dharma', was prevailed upon by the senior BJP leaders against sacking the Modi government and that was the main reason of NDA's defeat at the hustings in 2004, Kumar said.
Under attack from the RSS and the BJP for his latest salvo, Kumar dismissed the charge that he was a selfish leader.
Kumar's detractors accused him of changing his tune after enjoying the fruits of power aligning with the BJP.
"I am not a selfish leader," he said while trying to deflect RSS-BJP criticism against him over the Modi issue.