The BJP's top leader in Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, in a not so subtle tweet has sought to silence critics of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in his own party. Mr Kumar's party Janata Dal United is an ally of the BJP in Bihar.
Two BJP leaders, Sanjay Paswan and CP Thakur, have asked the BJP to consider fighting next year's assembly election in Bihar under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and even suggested that a BJP leader, someone like Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, should take charge.
"@NitishKumar is the Captain of NDA in Bihar & will remain its Captain in next assembly elections in 2020 also. When Captain is hitting 4 & 6 & defeating rivals by inning where is the Q of any change," Mr Modi tweeted today.
@NitishKumar is the Captain of NDA in Bihar & will remain its Captain in next assembly elections in 2020 also.When Captain is hitting 4 & 6 & defeating rivals by inning where is the Q of any change.— Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) September 11, 2019
While Mr Modi was in Mongolia on an official trip last week, when the two BJP leaders resurrected the passive aggressive tone over the choice of leadership that has in the past strained ties between the two allies in Bihar.
BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan on Monday said Mr Kumar should "go to Delhi" and Mr Modi should take over, while senior party leader P Thakur the BJP should use the crowd-pulling power of PM Modi in the Bihar election campaign next year.
JDU leaders are upset with the two BJP leaders' comments, with the party's spokesperson KC Tyagi asking their ally to stop them from making "such unpleasant demand". "No one should have any confusion that Nitish ji is Chief Minister not at the mercy of anyone," Mr Tyagi said in a strong assertion of the party's stand on the issue of leadership.
Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party, another ally of the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar, said Mr Kumar will remain the face of the NDA in the state. "There's no confusion on this issue," Mr Paswan said.
Nitish Kumar ended the two-year-long political experiment that was branded as a game-changing Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance, which included his party, Lalu Yadav and the Congress, in July 2017. He became Chief Minister again with the BJP's support. The move was criticised by the opposition as an opportunistic one.
Nearly two years later, Mr Kumar was to be left disappointed after his party was offered only a single berth in the Modi government's second term. This, after the JDU scored 17 out of 18 Lok Sabha seats that it was allotted as part of the pact with the BJP in the national elections held in April and May.
The Chief Minister hit back at the BJP's state unit. In a cabinet expansion in June, he included eight of his party colleagues and left only one berth for the BJP.
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