Haven’t got answer: Pavan Varma on CM’s barb
Party insiders said Kumar’s statements are indications for Varma to leave the party. Varma represented the party in the Rajya Sabha from 2014 till 2016. Currently he is the party’s national general secretary and national spokesperson.Updated: Jan 24, 2020 23:38 IST
The simmering discord between Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his party colleague Pavan Varma continued on Friday, as the latter said he was yet to receive a reply from the JD(U) chief to the issues raised by him that are “fundamental to the party’s future” and that his decision to remain in the party would hinge on the response.
Nitish made it clear on Friday that he was in no mood to reply to Varma’s “emailed letter”.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of a function organised on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the late Karpoori Thakur, Nitish said, “That is not a letter. If a person is in the party, he writes a letter explaining the issue and then a reply is given to that person. Sending an email without even informing and straight away going to the press doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t consider that to be a letter.”
Party insiders said Kumar’s statements are indications for Varma to leave the party. Varma represented the party in the Rajya Sabha from 2014 till 2016. Currently he is the party’s national general secretary and national spokesperson.
A day after Nitish said his colleague was “free to go wherever he wants”, Varma told HT that his letters questioning the party’s stand were not born of any personal differences.
On Tuesday, Varma tweeted a letter to Kumar, asking him how the JD(U) had formed an alliance with the BJP for the upcoming Delhi assembly elections, given his own views on the saffron party, and the “massive national outrage against the divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme”.
“I have asked him to clarify the party’s stand on issues that are fundamental to the party’s future in his capacity as JD(U) president,” Varma said.
“There is a chronology here, between 2013 to 2017, when we broke up with the BJP, after the ascent of Narendra Modi. Nitish Kumar and the party [JD(U)] were trenchant critics of both the party [BJP] and Modi. Subsequently on rejoining the BJP in 2017, which many said was a spectacular U-turn, there was still some reservation about the BJP in JD(U)... that was bound to spill over. Those residual apprehensions remain in the rank and file,” Varma said.
Apart from Varma, JD(U) vice-president, Prashant Kishor, too, has questioned the party’s stance on the CAA and NRC. The schism in the party widened with Varma’s second letter questioning how it allowed Bihar deputy chief minister and BJP leader, Sushil Modi, to “announce unilaterally about the decision to allow NPR, which is seen as the first step to NRC”.
Varma said he did not have any personal differences with Nitish. “I am grateful for what he has done for me, but this is not personal,” Varma said.
A BJP leader not wishing to be named said the issue was an internal matter of the JD(U). “We will go by the statements of the party chief, not what others say,” the BJP leader said.