The JD(U) hit back at Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday for his "backstabbing" charge against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying it was the BJP that had conspired to "stab" Mr Kumar in the back.
Janata Dal (United) president Lalan Singh launched a sharp attack on Amit Shah, saying his party needs no certificate from him and that Bihar will be central to making a "BJP-mukt Bharat" in 2024 by ensuring the saffron party's rout in the next Lok Sabha polls.
With Amit Shah targeting the ruling JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar over corruption and the law-and-order situation in the state, Mr Singh sarcastically said the home minister has redefined graft as people become "spotless" after joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while those in the opposition are corrupt and targeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The JD(U) leader pointed out that a court recently made adverse remarks against former Karnataka chief minister and BJP leader B S Yediyurappa and wondered if the CBI or the ED will ever take action against him.
Mr Kumar is not afraid of probe agencies, he asserted, but added that their "misuse" by the Centre is a matter of concern.
As Amit Shah accused Nitish Kumar of being "power-greedy" by noting his political somersaults in recent years, Lalan Singh said the chief minister needs no certificate from him as the people of Bihar have been giving their certificate to him since 2005, from when he has been ruling the state except for a brief period when he installed Jitan Ram Manjhi in his place.
The home minister should instead look within as all major allies of the BJP have severed ties with it in the last few years, he said.
"So much publicity was given to his (Shah's) public meeting for so many days. What did he say? He made no mention of burning issues such as unemployment and price rise. In 2014, the BJP had promised that two crore jobs will be generated annually," the JD(U) president said.
In an apparent reference to the meteoric rise in the fortunes of industrialist Gautam Adani, he alleged that while the economy of the country and the value of the rupee are going down and the government is unable to provide jobs, someone has made Rs 1,600 crore daily.
"What kind of a miracle is this? Those close to them (BJP) are looting the country. Shah should have spoken on this," Mr Singh said.
It was the BJP that had conspired to weaken the JD(U), he said on Amit Shah's charge that Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the saffron party due to his prime ministerial ambitions.
The JD(U) has maintained that the BJP was hand in glove with Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan to hurt it in the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls and later, worked on its former president R C P Singh to weaken it.
"It is not Kumar but the BJP which stabbed him in the back," the Lok Sabha MP said.
At a rally in Purnea, Shah claimed that Kumar backstabbed the BJP to join hands with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress in order to fulfil his prime ministerial aspirations.
Asserting that the saffron party will form a government with full majority in the state, Mr Shah alleged that Kumar does not have any ideology, so he gave up socialism in favour of caste-based politics.
Lalan Singh said CM Nitish Kumar is not a contender for the prime minister's post but is working to unite the opposition parties. He also made light of Shah's claims about the BJP's prospects in Bihar, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself addressed more than 40 public meetings in the run-up to the 2015 state Assembly polls but the saffron party could win only 53 seats.
The JD(U)-RJD alliance had swept to power in Bihar in 2015.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)