A day after Union Minister Giriraj Singh attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his "inept" handling of the Patna floods, the Janata Dal United on Saturday hit back by claiming that he is not qualified to make such an observation.
"Giriraj Singh can't even compare to a speck of dust on Nitish Kumar's feet. One does not become a leader just by chanting the name of Mahadev (Lord Shiva) every now and then," news agency PTI quoted party spokesperson Sanjay Singh as saying. He was referring to the Union Minister's penchant of referring to the Hindu god in his speeches.
Although Giriraj Singh has often targeted the Janata Dal United-BJP government in Bihar over its handling of monsoon-related issues, he was particularly scathing in his criticism on Friday. "A leader should accept praise as well as blame. Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi are responsible for what has happened in Patna after the heavy rains," PTI quoted the firebrand leader as saying on Friday.
He then went on to fault the state government for not pushing officials into taking precautionary measures when weather department officials had predicted heavy rainfall in the state capital.
The Janata Dal United, in its rebuttal of Giriraj Singh's accusations, also claimed that the BJP shared a far greater share of the blame for the crisis in Patna. "Ever since the combine took over the reins of the state, the urban development portfolio has been with our alliance partner. The Mayor of Patna belongs to the BJP, as do the MPs representing the two Lok Sabha constituencies that cover the district. All the assembly segments in the city have been BJP strongholds since the 1990s," another party spokesperson, Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, said.
Janata Dal United national general secretary KC Tyagi claimed that the Union Minister - who represents Begusarai in the Lok Sabha - was turning out to be a liability for the Bihar government. "Giriraj Singh has become a habitual offender. He is causing more damage to our alliance than even Tejashwi Yadav (opposition leader in the state assembly) is capable of," PTI quoted him as saying.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal, being the main opposition party in the state, felt prudent to back Giriraj Singh in his attack on the ruling coalition. "This is one of those rare occasions where we have found ourselves on the same page as a polarising BJP leader like Giriraj Singh. He is perfectly right in blaming the NDA government in Bihar for the Patna disaster," said Manoj Jha, the party's national spokesperson.
(With inputs from PTI)
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