- Former diplomat-turned-JD(U) spokesperson Pavan Varma criticised PM Modi
- Nitish Kumar has deliberately put off action against him
- This is so Mr Varma doesn't come out looking like a wronged hero
Hardly a day passes without the former diplomat-turned- national spokesperson of the Janata Dal United embarrassing the party with his statements and articles.
But Nitish Kumar isn't rising to the bait yet, say sources.
Last evening, discussing on NDTV the exit polls that predict the BJP's victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Mr Varma let loose an all-out critique of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, displaying the opposite of ally-like behavior.
"I'm reflecting my personal views but on the issue of religious coexistence and the misuse of religion in politics, I'm reflecting the well-known philosophy of the Janata Dal United and Nitish Kumar without a doubt," Mr Varma said, defending himself.
On the show, he said PM Modi's allegations against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were shocking and institutions like the Election Commission were being subverted.
"The BJP in its campaigning hit a new low which is very unfortunate given the fact that it was well placed in Gujarat," Mr Varma said, referring to PM Modi's charge that Congress leaders including Manmohan Singh discussed with Pakistani guests at a recent dinner how to defeat the BJP in Gujarat.
He also tore into PM Modi's 100-metre walk down a road after casting his vote yesterday, which the opposition alleges became a roadshow in the middle of voting. "What worries me a lot is the corrosion of institutions like the Election Commission which we have respected in the past," he said.
Mr Varma also praised Rahul Gandhi. "The Congress party under Rahul Gandhi won far more support than the manner in which he was disdainfully dismissed by the BJP in the past. He showed humility, he showed decorum, he showed ability for course correction and to take decisive action against people like Mani Shankar Aiyar."
Fellow panelist, BJP leader Chandan Mitra, dubbed him "shortly to be a Congressman".
Mr Varma has been publicly ticked off by another national spokesperson of the party, KC Tyagi, who said: "Whether you agree with the party's stand or not but when you're in a coalition then you have to follow coalition dharma."
Mr Varma counters, "Even as a member of a coalition, the party has its own identity and ideology."
His party boss Nitish Kumar has been a firm supporter of the BJP since he resurrected their alliance in Bihar in July after breaking up with Lalu Yadav and the Congress.
Party sources said Nitish Kumar is deliberately putting off action against Mr Varma as he doesn't want him to come out looking like the wronged hero.
"There are two examples in the Janata Dal United," said a source, explaining Mr Varma's options. "A former Kerala MP who realised that he can't work with us, resigned and also quit the membership of the Rajya Sabha and revived his old party. In due course of time he will be re-elected. Then you have Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar, who not only opposed the decision to align with the BJP but also went to Lalu Yadav's rally despite a former request not to do so," said the leader.