Friends-turned-foes: JD-U, BJP spar in Bihar

Patna, June 17 (IANS) Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party sparred in Bihar Monday, a day after their 17-year-old alliance ended in bitter acrimony. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it is difficult to work with BJP's new era leaders while BJP decided to expose his "double-speak".

Nitish Kumar Monday criticised the BJP's present leadership, saying it had forgotten its senior leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani and had forced the JD-U to end the alliance.

An angry BJP decided to expose the "doublespeak" of Nitish Kumar over Narendra Modi by distributing CDs of an old video in which he praised the Gujarat chief minister.

The fissures between the BJP and JD-U were triggered by Nitish Kumar's opposition to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP's decision to make Modi its public face for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

"BJP has forgotten its old leaders like Vajpayee and Advani, who played a major role in formation of NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and the national agenda that was prepared in the interest of all," Nitish Kumar said at a press conference here after holding his weekly Janata Darbar.

For the first time since the inception of the Janata Darbar, Nitish Kumar held it without the BJP.

"Vajpayee and Advani's era had ended in BJP and a new era has begun now. It was difficult for JD-U to work with BJP's new-era leaders," Nitish Kumar said.

On Sunday, Nitish Kumar told Governor D.Y. Patil to sack all the 11 BJP ministers in his government for non-performance and vowed to prove his majority in the assembly Wednesday.

Nitish Kumar Monday said that JD-U's decision to end alliance with the BJP was taken after much deliberations within the party.

"JD-U decision was not taken in hurry. It was decided at the right time only," Nitish Kumar said.

He reiterated that BJP is responsible for the split in the NDA.

"BJP forced us to end alliance with it," he insisted.

Sushil Kumar Modi, a senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister, told media persons that "we will expose the doublespeak of Nitish Kumar by distributing CDs of an old video in which Nitish Kumar praised Modi during his visit to Gujarat in 2003, a year after the Gujarat riots".

"These CDs will be distributed among people in rural as well as in urban areas. People will come to know the doublespeak and double face of Nitish Kumar over Modi," he said.

Soon after JD-U ended its alliance with BJP Sunday afternoon, the BJP released a speech in which Nitish Kumar as a railway minister praised Modi as a potential national leader and a development-oriented politician.

"I hope that Narendra Modi will not be limited to Gujarat after some time. The country needs his services," Nitish Kumar reportedly then said.

Nitish Kumar Monday disagreed with BJP leaders saying the JD-U had betrayed the people of Bihar by snapping ties.

"The mandate was for the development of Bihar and we are doing this," he said.

The JD-U has 118 seats in the 243-member assembly, four short of a majority, while the BJP has 91 members. There are six independents, while the Congress has four members.

One of the oldest allies of the BJP, the JD-U is the 14th party to desert the NDA, which was formed in 1998 and ruled India for six years under the leadership of the now ailing Vajpayee.

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