‘Free to exit JDU’: Nitish Kumar rebuffs Pavan Varma who questioned BJP alliance
Nitish Kumar said he was surprised by Pavan K Varma’s public statements and made it clear that the former diplomat was free to exit the party if he wanted.Updated: Jan 23, 2020 12:37 IST
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday finally responded to party leader Pavan K Varma’s letter questioning the Janata Dal (United) decision to extend the alliance with the BJP to Delhi. Kumar said he was surprised by Varma’s public statements and made it clear that the former diplomat was free to exit the party if he wanted.
“He can go and join any party he likes. My best wishes,” the chief minister said on Thursday, two days after Varma wrote a letter to the chief minister on the BJP alliance for the Delhi elections.
Varma had left red faces in his party after he quoted from his private conversations with the chief minister.
Nitish Kumar, he had written, mentioned to him that the BJP’s policies were inimical to the country’s interests and were leading India into a “dangerous space”.
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“When you (Kumar) were leading the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), you openly made a call for RSS-mukt Bharat (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh free India),” he said.
“... I remember your confessing to me in private how the current leadership in the BJP party has humiliated you… If these are your real views, I fail to understand how the JD (U) is now extending its alliance with the BJP beyond Bihar, when even long-standing allies of the BJP, like the Akali Dal, have refused to do so,” Varma had written.
On Thursday when reporters asked Nitish Kumar about his party colleague, the JDU boss made his displeasure clear.
“I respect him even if he does not respect us. He can go where he wants, there is no objection to that. But (he should) try to understand Janata Dal United. Don’t try to assess the party on the basis of statements by some people. Janata Dal United acts with determination. Our stand on everything is very clear. There is no confusion,” Kumar said.
The chief minister had referred to Varma’s letter extensively quoting from their conversations.
“If someone still has a view, he should discuss it. If necessary, at a party forum. But to give a statement like this. You see, it is surprising the kind of statement he has given about what we had spoken about. Now will I say what we had spoken about,” he said.
Pavan Varma responded to the barbs from his party boss. He told news channel News 18 that he was glad that the chief minister had finally taken cognisance of his letter.
This was the second letter, Varma told the news channel, underscoring that the first one, which wasn’t released, had gone unresponded.
He also rebutted allegations that most of his statements were linked to personal ambition. Varma, who quit the Indian Foreign Service to join Nitish Kumar’s party, said he has had a good innings at the JDU and never had any regrets about joining the party.