Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has weighed in on BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi's comment that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, an ally of the BJP, "is the captain of the NDA in Bihar" and he would lead the fight in the assembly election next year.
While Mr Modi was in Mongolia on an official trip last week, two BJP leaders in Bihar - Sanjay Paswan and CP Thakur - had asked the BJP to consider fighting next year's assembly election under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and even suggested that someone from the party and not Mr Kumar, who is from the Janata Da United (JDU), should take charge. After returning to India, Mr Modi, the Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, hit back at his own colleagues for suggesting Mr Kumar should be given a lesser role.
It means If he is Captain then PM is Coach & u don't believe on the face of @narendramodi ji. Why this batsman even after 15 yrs of CMship always need a runner, believes in match fixing & player poaching?Why he kicked out BJP in 2013?He asked for votes on the name of PM not his https://t.co/PQcAgMwUFB- Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) September 12, 2019
"Sushil Modi does not have decision-making power. It means that he does not believe on the face of Narendra Modi. BJP should think that it is the biggest political party in the world and it does not have a face in Bihar," Mr Yadav told reporters in Patna on Wednesday, news agency ANI reported.
"Sushil Modi is not in the BJP but on the side of Nitish Kumar's party and Nitish's man. Everybody knows this. Even BJP leaders say this. That's why BJP does not have a face in Bihar," said Mr Yadav.
JDU leaders are also upset with the two BJP leaders' comments against the Chief Minister, with the party's spokesperson KC Tyagi asking their ally to stop them from making "such unpleasant demand".
However, Mr Yadav, whose father Lalu Yadav is in jail after he was convicted in a fodder scam case, took a dig at the Chief Minister. "If Nitish Kumar is batting so well, then he should fight alone. If Nitish Kumar is captain and batting so well then he should move to Delhi and fix the economy. He did not ask for votes on his work but on the face of (Prime Minister) Modi," said Mr Yadav.
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.
With inputs from ANI
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