Union minister Giriraj Singh on Sunday alleged that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's "silence" over the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi indicated that the JD(U) leader was pleased over increased chances of claiming leadership of the opposition camp.
The BJP leader also slammed Mr Gandhi for "my name is not Savarkar" jibe, and asserted that it will take "many lifetimes" for the Congress leader to become like the freedom fighter-turned- Hindutva mascot.
At the Bihar BJP headquarters, the Begusarai MP was responding to queries from reporters on Mr Kumar, his bete noire, keeping "silent" over the development even though top leaders of JD(U), including the national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan, have condemned the disqualification unequivocally.
"He (Mr Kumar) must be chuffed that his chances have become brighter. After all, competing ambitions for the elusive top slot has become the defining trait of all parties (opposed to BJP)", said Mr Singh.
He, however, bristled at Mr Gandhi's assertion that he would not seek an apology for defamatory remarks that led to his conviction by a Gujarat court, with the remark "my name is not Savarkar".
The allusion was to petition for clemency of V D Savarkar, while he was lodged in jail, to the British imperialists, which has become a stick to beat the BJP with for its opponents.
"It will take many lifetimes for Rahul Gandhi to become like Savarkar", fumed Mr Singh, charging the Congress leader with behaving like an Emperor (shahenshah) who had no respect for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"My name is not Savarkar, my name is Gandhi and Gandhi does not offer an apology to anyone," Rahul Gandhi had said on Saturday responding to a query on repeated calls by the BJP seeking his apology over various issues.
The former Congress chief made the remarks while addressing a press conference after being disqualified from Lok Sabha.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)