The burqa is a veil worn by Muslim women. Mr Kumar said in Patna today, "if women from one community wear the burqa, then why is somebody objecting to that. Even Hindu women follow this system of covering their heads." (Highlights)
He also said, "When you're in power, please learn to respect other religions and please mind your language."
Last month, Mr Kumar had pulled out his party, the Janata Dal (United), from a 15-year-old alliance with the BJP, provoked by the latter's decision to elevate Mr Modi as its election campaign chief. Today, reacting to several controversial statements made by his bete noir over the weekend, the JD(U) leader said, "The cat is out of the bag." (Modi's 'burqa of secularism' remark: who said what)
Mr Kumar questions Mr Modi's secular credentials and accuses him of not doing enough to prevent the riots of 2002 in Gujarat in which hundreds of Muslims were killed.
But, from even before the formal split, Mr Kumar has been seen as aligning with the Congress on a number of issues signalling the possibility of new political equations with general elections round the corner.
Today, he voiced full support for the Congress's flagship food security ordinance, which is seen as a big vote catcher for the ruling UPA. The Congress has been accused of pushing the bill through an ordinance in a hurry for political benefit not just by rivals like the BJP, but also Mulayam Singh Yadav whose Samajwadi Party provides external support to the central government.