In a new flashpoint between Bihar's squabbling coalition partners, a top BJP leader has warned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party against crossing the line or "76 lakh BJP workers in Bihar" will reply.
The unsubtle threat comes from Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal, whose long Facebook post today also warned Janata Dal United (JDU) leaders against playing 'Twitter games' with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He did not name JDU's national president Rajiv Ranjan and parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha, who had recently written to PM Modi urging that the Padma Shri awarded to noted playwright Daya Prakash Sinha be withdrawn over his comments on King Ashoka.
Mr Jaiswal has filed an FIR against the writer for drawing a parallel between Ashoka and Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
He questioned why, instead of Mr Sinha's arrest, Nitish Kumar's party leaders were asking for the award to be withdrawn - something that he asserted had never happened before.
"Why do these leaders keep tagging me and the central leadership and question us? We all have to stay within our limits in the alliance. It cannot be one-sided anymore. The first condition of this limit is that you cannot play Twitter Twitter with the country's PM. If you do that and raise questions, then 76 lakh BJP workers in Bihar can give a fitting answer. I am sure you will be careful in future," Mr Jaiswal wrote on Facebook.
"There can't be anything more nonsensical then asking PM to take back the awards," he said.
Stating that the allies could sit together and thrash out differences, Mr Jaiwal remarked: "We don't want that the Chief Minister's residence once again becomes a hub of killings, kidnapping and extortion like it was before 2005."
The BJP leader was apparently referring to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)'s rule as a reminder of what could happen if the ruling coalition collapses.
Upendra Kushwaha, responding to the sharp message, said: "We will not back down on our demand and will continue till the award is withdrawn."
Nitish Kumar and the BJP returned to power in the 2020 Bihar election but with changed power dynamics after the BJP won more seats than the JDU and no longer willing to play second fiddle.
The allies have bickered over a range of subjects. The controversy over King Ashoka is the latest to cause tension between the two.