Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's reference to his political detractors who "know nothing, are ignorant of even a, b, c of politics but still get lots of publicity" on Friday touched a raw nerve with RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav.
While addressing the state council meeting of the JD (U) headed by him, Mr Kumar hit out at opponents who kept making personal attacks on him to gain publicity while refraining from mentioning any party or leader by name.
However, the 29-year-old younger son of Lalu Yadav took the bait and came out with a flurry of tweets accusing the chief minister of having made "unseemly remarks" against the leader of the Opposition.
"The Chief Minister says I do not know anything. Okay uncle, but then why did you make me the Deputy CM? Why did you grow restless when I handled (well) the portfolios that were allotted to me? If you feel gratified in making unseemly remarks against the leader of the Opposition then, please, continue doing so on a daily basis," Mr Yadav said in a tweet.
In another tweet, Mr Yadav said, "Nitish ji, I am the leader of the Opposition and you are the CM. If you take my raising of your mismanagement and failures before the public as my ignorance then it is your ignorance. With due respect, I say your political journey predates my birth. Still, I challenge you for an open debate on any topic of your choice."
In his final tweet of the series, he said, "Excuse me, uncle, I may be young but I have not learnt from you how to trade with one's principles and ideology. You have been the CM for 15 years and yet you do not have the capability to go it alone in elections. Please think over the shortcomings that force you to depend on crutches for your political survival and enlighten the people about the same."
Notably, Mr Kumar had fought the assembly elections in 2015 in alliance with RJD and Congress, after a patch-up with Lalu Yadav, his arch rival, which followed the drubbing of all the non-NDA parties in the Lok Sabha polls the previous year.
Mr Kumar had snapped ties with the BJP in 2013.
After Kumar was re-elected chief minister in 2015, Tejashwi Yadav who made his electoral debut at the age of 25 was straightaway made the Deputy CM while his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav got a cabinet berth. Money laundering cases against Tejashwi Yadav and RJD's refusal to heed the demand for his resignation caused Mr Kumar to walk out of the Grand Alliance and return to the NDA in 2017.
Mr Yadav then took over as the leader of the Opposition in the state assembly. He emerged as the RJD's de facto leader after his father went to jail in December, 2017 in fodder scam cases but questions have been raised over his leadership abilities in the wake of the Lok Sabha poll results in which the party drew a blank.
In his speech earlier in the day, Mr Kumar had also made a reference to the RJD's failure to do well in pockets of influence of Lalu Yadav's family which controls the party.
His close to the bone jibe came a day after Mr Yadav had rejected, at a meeting of the RJD's minority cell, suggestions by a number of party veterans that Mr Kumar should be wooed back so that forces opposed to the BJP which emerged more formidable than ever before in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls regain an edge.
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