Patna: A fresh turmoil was caused in the ruling JD(U)-BJP alliance in Bihar on Saturday by a tweet from election strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor, who sought to underscore Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi's hostility towards Chief Minister Nitish Kumar when their parties had, for a brief period, parted ways.
Kishor, who was inducted into the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) more than a year ago and made the party's national vice-president weeks later, has rankled the BJP with his stout opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) and provision of professional service to leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal.
In his fresh tweet, he shared a video clipping where Sushil Modi, then stripped of the position of power because of Kumar's exit from NDA, can be heard attacking the JD(U) chief.
Along with the clip, Kishor also shared a January 22 tweet of Sushil Modi, where he had said, "Kumar often faces troubles at the hands of those whom, out of generosity, he picks up from dust and catapults to the skies. To someone he gave away his chair, to others he gave Rajya Sabha berths or rewarded with top organisational posts, bringing them out of political wilderness".
The deputy chief minister's remarks were seemingly aimed at Jitan Ram Manjhi, who succeeded Kumar in 2014, besides JD(U) national general secretary Pavan Varma and Kishor himself.
While Manjhi revolted against Kumar and floated his own party, Varma has left the chief minister sore by sharing in public a two-page letter he wrote to him earlier this week, questioning the JD(U)'s tie-up with BJP in Delhi at a time when the saffron party was facing public resentment in the form of protests against the CAA.
लोगों को character certificate देने में @SushilModi जी का कोई जोड़ नहीं है।— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) January 25, 2020
देखिए पहले बोल कर बता रहे थे और अब DY CM बना दिए गए तो लिख कर दे रहे हैं👇🏼 इनकी क्रोनोलॉजी भी बिल्कुल क्लीयर है!! https://t.co/5WwkNXe5IG pic.twitter.com/q9LjnipQMi
Incidentally, the video clip of Sushil Modi shows him inveighing against Kumar for having dethroned Manjhi for the sake of his own return to power and defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "DNA" jibe at the JD(U) leader, which had become a major issue during the 2015 Assembly elections.
Kishor, in his tweet, said, "@SushilModiji is unparalleled when it comes to dishing out character certificates. Look at what he said earlier and what he is putting in writing now, after having been made the Deputy CM".
"His chronology, too, is clear," remarked Kishor twisting the knife with an indirect reference to the "aap chronology samajh lijiye" remark of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, whom the election strategist had attacked a few days ago for "being dismissive of citizens' dissent".
The Bihar BJP was predictably peeved. Party spokesperson Nikhil Anand came out with a strongly worded statement charging Kishor with "working on the pay-rolls of
Lalu Prasad (jailed RJD supremo)".
"Instead of explaining chronology to others, he would do well to understand the colloquialisms of the Bhojpuri-speaking area to which he belongs. It is for his type that words like 'thethar' (incorrigible) and 'latkhor' (despicable) have been coined," Anand fumed.
JD(U) sources said that Kishor had been an outlier for quite some time and his utterances must not be construed as the party line.
"What Kishor has said about Sushil Modi's duplicity is true. But it is equally true for Nitish Kumar himself. We can understand that he is not a full-time politician. But he must act and part ways with the JD(U) at the earliest else he may lose his credibility," said Madhaw Anand, a national general secretary of RLSP, which is a
constituent of the opposition Grand Alliance.