Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi Thursday slammed RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav for indirectly drawing parallels between the explosion of COVID-19 cases at the state BJP headquarters in Patna and the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in March.
More than 100 people, including party leaders and others employed for running various errands at the BJP'S Birchand Patel Marg office, had sent their samples for examination on Monday, and test reports the following day confirmed that 24, including four BJP office-bearers, had contracted the virus.
"They are holding gatherings in the name of virtual rallies and spreading coronavirus. To which jamaat (creed) do these people belong," has since been an oft-repeated wisecrack by the leader of the opposition, who has refrained from mentioning the Islamic organisation by name, while using the pun to make it clear what he was hinting at.
The barbs have riled the BJP to no end, given the party's vociferous criticism of the congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi, where hundreds of foreign delegates had taken part, and on which a massive country-wide spike was blamed when the pandemic was in its early stages.
The deputy CM, who has often been at loggerheads with RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and his family, came out with a stinging tweet aimed at the leader of the opposition in the assembly, without referring to him by name.
"Any individual or premises can fall prey to a global pandemic like coronavirus. The viral infection has infected the likes of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, the acting chairman of Bihar legislative council and one of the RJD's national vice-presidents," said Sushil Modi in his tweet.
The senior BJP leader was referring to Awadhesh Narain Singh, who tested positive for COVID-19 a few days after administering oath of offices to nine newly-elected MLCs, and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a staunch Lalu loyalist who was diagnosed with the disease a month ago.
"Should all these people be taunted for getting infected? If despite all precautions, those frequenting the Patna High Court, the Raj Bhavan and the BJP state headquarters ended up catching the contagion, do they warrant a comparison to the foreign Jamaatis," the deputy CM said.
"Had the RJD's young leadership learnt a bit of social courtesy, we would not have heard utterances about skinning the prime minister alive," he added.
The BJP leader was referring to an infamous remark by Lalu Prasad's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav a couple of years ago. The maverick RJD leader had hit the roof upon downgrading of the security of his father, who ended up behind bars shortly after because of convictions in fodder scam cases.
"If anything untoward happens to my father, Narendra Modi will be held responsible for that. He will be skinned alive (chamdi udhed denge)," the mercurial RJD leader had said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)