Nitish Kumar today said he would "rather die" than return to an alliance with the BJP and accused the ruling party of launching cases against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav "deliberately, without basis".
The Bihar Chief Minister was responding to BJP leaders accusing him of "abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trust" while rejecting speculation of a reunion with an "unpopular" Chief Minister.
"The question does not arise. Mar jaana qabool hai lekin unke saath jaana humko kabhi qabool nahin hai (I'd rather die than tie up with them)," he told reporters, Tejashwi Yadav next to him.
The 71-year-old Janata Dal United (JDU) chief said his decision to revive his alliance with the BJP, following corruption cases against Tejashwi Yadav and his father Lalu Yadav, was a "mistake".
"Listen carefully. They (BJP) went through so much effort. They slapped cases against Tejashwi and his father to get me on board. Now again, they are trying to get after them. These people keep doing such things," Nitish Kumar said.
The Chief Minister scoffed at the BJP's claim that it would win 36 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in the national election next year.
Mr Kumar, Bihar's longest-serving Chief Minister, sought to "remind" the BJP that the party achieved its biggest poll success because of the alliance. The party even got the votes of his supporters, including Muslims, who have always been "wary" of the BJP's Hindutva ideology, he said.
In August last year, Mr Kumar revived his alliance with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, whom he had dumped in 2017 to reembrace the BJP.
Mr Kumar's comments come after BJP leaders said there is "no question" of partnering again with an "unpopular" Chief Minister.
"We have sought to stamp out rumours among our party cadre about such a realignment. Of course, the chief minister has the proclivity to oscillate like a pendulum. But we are not going to be cheated by him again," said BJP's Bihar chief Sanjay Jaiswal.
"Nitish Kumar has grown hugely unpopular. It was his unpopularity that had caused his JDU to do badly in the assembly polls of 2020 when we did much better. Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed magnanimity in deciding to stick to the promise made before elections and Nitish Kumar, the habitual betrayer that he is, abused the PM's trust," he said.