The simmering tension between allies BJP and Nitish Kumar's JD(U) has increasingly spilled over into public spats recently. And in the latest installment of the war of words, former cricketer and BJP leader Kirti Azad decided to interrupt Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a meeting today in Darbhanga in north Bihar.
The incident occurred when Mr Kumar was reviewing various infrastructure projects for the Darbhanga district. This was part of the chief minister's Sewa Yatra wherein he visits a particular district in the state and takes stock of development work with officials on the final day.
Mr Azad, who is BJP's MP from Darbhanga, interrupted the chief minister, saying he should also be given a chance to speak. The Chief Minister, who was issuing instructions to officials at the time, asked the MP to stay quiet and listen to the proceedings. Mr Azad shot back in Maithili, the local dialect, accusing the chief minister of being rude which prompted the latter to urge the BJP leader to be patient.
This verbal exchange played out in front of several local MLAs and top district and state government officials.
Sources close to Mr Azad say that he, as the MP from Darbhanga, was peeved at being deliberately neglected by Mr Kumar; he was not invited to several functions organised during the chief minister's two-day tour of the district.
But the Janata Dal(United) has rejected these allegations with sources in the party claiming that Mr Azad was frustrated and had displayed such outbursts in the past. They also claim that the BJP leader has been campaigning against the Nitish Kumar government, alleging that the administration is steeped in scams and corruption.
Interestingly, Mr Azad is a known baiter of the JD(U) and Nitish Kumar and is one of those BJP leaders who have been extremely critical of the chief minister.