Patna: The 17-year-old BJP-JD(U) association ended on a bitter note on Sunday. The decision was taken at a Janata Dal United meet, which was called at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's residence in Patna. All senior JD(U) leaders, including party president Sharad Yadav, attended the meeting.
"We are not responsible for taking this step, we have been forced to quit. The BJP could not see the writing on the wall and were blaming us instead. Saw the alliance drifting away from the founding principles," said Nitish Kumar as the JD(U) announced the split.
The formal announcement of the split was made by Sharad Yadav, who claimed the JD(U) had warned the BJP before the Goa meet. "The discourse after BJP's Goa meet is disturbing. We have decided to break our alliance with the BJP," he said.
The JD(U) chief said both he and Nitish tried hard to keep the alliance intact but "the situation has become difficult now". "Alliance not the same the way it was in Vajpayee-Advani era, it is more difficult now," Yadav said as he resigned from the post of NDA convenor.
The Bihar Chief Minister also sacked all 11 BJP ministers in the cabinet. He reportedly asked Bihar Governor DY Patil that the BJP ministers should be sacked as they have not been attending their offices.
Nitish Kumar was also upset that the BJP ministers did not attend the Cabinet meet he had called earlier on Sunday. "Had called the Cabinet meeting on a routine agenda, got to know from media reports that the BJP members won't attend," he said.
Over the last few months, Nitish Kumar had given enough hints that elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was not acceptable to him. And ever since Modi was appointed as the BJP's campaign committee chief at the recently concluded National Executive in Goa, the Bihar Chief Minister had openly expressed his opposition to the decision.
"We need someone like Atal Bihari Vajpayee to be the prime minister. To lead a country, sometimes you need to wear a tilak and sometimes you need to wear a skull cap," Nitish Kumar had said on Friday.
He also did not restrain himself from taking a dig at the BJP. Speaking to the media, the Bihar Chief Minister said: "The situation is dire. Though the BJP blesses the JD(U) with a long life, it acts in a way which is detrimental to our party."
Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar has already reached out to non-Congress and non-BJP Chief Ministers and his game plan is clear. If the BJP depends on Modi to polarise voters, the Bihar Chief Minister hopes to be the big beneficiary of reverse polarisation.