Terming former ally Janata Dal (United)’s growing proximity to the Congress “a mistake,” Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh said here on Sunday that the Congress never allowed regional parties to flourish under its wing.

“Those who go with the Congress will be wiped out from Indian politics. We had warned the JD (U) to be beware of the Congress, but it still moved to Congress’ side. It is a mistake,” Mr. Singh said in his address to party workers in Bihar on the occasion of the death anniversary of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

Referring to the dismissal of BJP Ministers by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Mr. Singh said, “Indian people will never accept such humiliation by a friend. We did not want this 17-year-old relationship to end.”

“Was it my crime that I made the most popular leader Narendra Modi head of the poll panel? When elections are round the corner every party prepares for a victory. Everyone wants a capable person to take care of the rough and tumble of elections. From 2002 to 2013, Mr. Modi was not an issue. How did he become one in 2013? What is Mr. Modi’s crime,” Mr. Singh asked.

The BJP president said Gujarat had emerged as a model of growth, which was being talked about abroad.

Attacking the Congress, Mr. Singh said that despite a long spell of Congress rule, India was still counted among the poor nations. “The Congress has lowered India’s dignity before the world. India’s pride and sovereignty are in jeopardy with Chinese incursions. Only the BJP can save India from this situation.”

He invoked the anti-Congress socialist wave led by Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia, of which Mr. Nitish Kumar was a part. “The BJP has played a big role in fostering JP’s vision. Like JP and Lohia, we wanted to free the country from the Congress’ bad governance. No party was successful in increasing its stature before the Congress, except the BJP,” Mr. Singh said.

Bihar’s politics greatly impacted national politics. With every political churning in Bihar, national politics too underwent a churning. With an eye on the 2014 election, he urged workers to form booth committees and hold regular meetings. “Bihar should get 40 Lok Sabha seats,” he said.

“Eye on minority votes”

BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said Mr. Kumar had split from the BJP to attract minority vote.

“Muslim vote accounts for 17 per cent of the total electorate. He has not parted ways out of love for the Muslim community, but out of love for their votes. His love for the PM post made him break away from the alliance,” he said.

Mr. Hussain said both the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad had only cheated the minorities. They now had a new contender in Mr. Kumar. Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said Bihar would take one step towards the Lok Sabha election with Mr. Modi’s rally in Patna on October 27. He said Mr. Kumar could not take all the credit for ending Mr. Prasad’s rule.

Questioning Mr. Kumar’s aversion to Mr. Narendra Modi, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad asked: “If people choose [Modi] as PM, won’t [Mr. Kumar] talk to him? If he had the courage he could have resigned in 2002 itself [after the Gujarat riots]. But for the seat of power and red beacon, he needed the BJP. He has to answer for this betrayal.”