A day after JD(U) president Sharad Yadav "apologised" for helping Nitish Kumar become Bihar chief minister, opposition BJP and its allies launched a fierce attack on Kumar, saying now "he has no moral right to continue as CM".
Faced with a tough challenge from Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav of the Congress-RJD combine and Vijay Singh Kushwaha of the BJP in Madhepura, Yadav said sorry to the people for having supported Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad in politics and bringing them to power. "Both have pursued the politics of caste. I am taking responsibility for the pathetic condition of the state because I helped Lalu Prasad and later Nitish Kumar in governing Bihar," he said at an election rally in Muzaffarpur on Friday.
Read: Sharad Yadav ‘apologises’ for backing Nitish and Lalu Prasad
Sharad's utterances have sparked off a row within the JD(U) with senior leaders claiming that it was the individual opinion of the party president.
"We have no clue what Yadav said about Kumar in Muzaffarpur but he has retracted his statement describing it as slip of tongue," a senior party functionary said.
Panchayati Raj minister Bhim Singh strongly defended Kumar saying the CM had worked tirelessly for the development of Bihar and never indulged in caste politics. "The JD(U) and Kumar have taken all castes together and never promoted casteism or believed in partisan approach towards any caste," Singh said.
The blame-game within the JD(U) has been triggered following widely perceived opinion that the party has fared poorly after its split with the BJP. Some senior leaders considered close to Yadav have started blaming Kumar for landing the party in trouble. Yadav was opposed to the JD(U) split with the NDA, but he reluctantly agreed to it at the instance of Kumar. "Even the much-hyped extremely backward caste (EBC), mahadalit and Muslim combination doesn't seem to have worked in our favour," said a party candidate.
The JD(U) internal wrangling has provided an opportunity to the opposition BJP to pin down the party leadership. "Yadav is a senior and mature leader. He has spoken the truth about caste politics being pursued by Kumar and Prasad. We stand vindicated," said Syed Shahnawaj Hussein.
LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan said the statement reflected the real picture of JD(U) and RJD. "It shows how Nitish and Lalu are acting at the behest of the Congress. People should decide what to do now."