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Shut up or face music, JD (U) chief warns Nitish baiters; sends RJD scurrying for cover

Bihar JD (U) chief Bashistha Narayan Singh, on Sunday, warned RJD of ‘consequences’ if its leaders persisted in attacking CM Nitish Kumar over his decision to back NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2017 17:59 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times. Patna
Grand alliance rift,JD (U) state chief,Bashistha Narayan Singh
FADING BONHOMIE: The post 2015 assembly poll warmth between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad has dissipated. (HT file photo)

PATNA The rift in Bihar’s ruling ‘grand alliance’, over the presidential elections, reached a flashpoint on Sunday when the JD (U) state leadership issued a terse warning to alliance partner - the RJD, to exercise restraint and rein in its leaders making ‘personal attacks’ on Nitish Kumar, or else be ready for a ‘fallout’.

Taking strong exception to the continued onslaught against Kumar by RJD leaders, JD (U) state president Bashistha Narayan Singh said, “there is a limit to everything. If the leaders of ruling alliance (read RJD) cannot maintain decorum and exercise restraint, things can take an ugly turn.”

“Our national president and chief minister (Nitish Kumar) had explained the reasons for extending support to BJP nominee Ramnath Kovind, both to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Yet, RJD leaders are bent upon making it an issue,” Singh said, expressing surprise over the desperation in the RJD camp.

Alliance and individual party policies were two separate things and nobody could dictate terms to the JD (U) on policy matters, he said, hinting that it was not in the interest of the alliance to continue under a cloud of uncertainty.

The simmering discontent in the alliance has been evident ever since Prasad termed JD (U) national president’s decision to back Kovind a “historical blunder”. His appeal for “reconsideration” on the issue provided a cue to known Kumar baiters in RJD, especially Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Bhai Birendra, to go after him.

Bhai Birendra, the RJD MLA from Maner in Patna district, even targeted the CM with a personal attack.

But, with the strong rebuff by JD (U) state president sending out a strong signal that the ongoing spat had reached a flash point, the RJD chief apparently stepped in and ‘directed’ his foot soldiers to stay away from making public statements on the JD(U) leadership.

State RJD president Ramchandra Purbe, who had earlier pitched Prasad as the architect of the grand alliance, in response to JD (U) spokesman Sanjay Singh’s claim that RJD would have not fared well in the 2015 Bihar assembly poll absence of acceptable face of Kumar, also softened his stance.

“It is our collective responsibility not to speak out things that may hurt public sentiment”, Purve said on Sunday.

First Published: Jun 25, 2017 20:55 IST