“Please relax,” Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday, replying to a flurry of questions by journalists about the return of the Kosi flood aid to Gujarat and the future of the Janata Dal (United) alliance with the BJP.
He urged people “not to have any tension” as he proceeded for the “Vishwas Yatra” in Nalanda.
Meanwhile, with Bihar BJP president C.P. Thakur stating a decision on the alliance would be announced by the party high command in two weeks, there were feelers for a rapprochement.
Earlier in the day, at the swearing in of the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, Justice Rekha Doshit, at the Raj Bhavan, Mr. Kumar exchanged pleasantries with Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi
“For four-and-a-half years, we have worked in tandem with the Bihar BJP unit and they have had no problems or have not tangled with any of our [secular] agendas. If the [June 12 Patna BJP] rally is to be interpreted as a show of strength, so be it,” said a senior JD(U) leader.
Minister of State for Disaster Management and JD(U) leader Devesh Chandra Thakur said there were “absolutely no problems between the JD(U) and the Bihar BJP.” On Bihar returning the Kosi flood relief money to Gujarat, Mr. Thakur said: “We objected to the way Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi boasted of aiding Bihar and the way he was projected during the BJP's [Swabhiman] rally. That was not in good taste.”
When contacted, senior BJP leaders Nand Kishore Yadav and Ashwini Kumar Chaubey refused to comment stating that only Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi and Mr. Thakur “were authorised to speak on the party line.”
In another development, the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), the Congress and the dissidents in the JD(U) continued to rain criticism on Mr. Kumar's “secular” posturing. They claimed that the whole JD(U)- BJP episode was a farce and that the alliance would never break in this crucial election year.
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan joined his alliance partner and Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad in demanding Mr. Kumar's resignation.
“He [Mr. Kumar] is just enacting a farce by distancing himself from Mr. Narendra Modi in order to secure the Muslim vote bank,” said Mr. Paswan.
“The relief money for the Kosi flood victims has been lying underutilised. So, we further demand that a commission be set up to investigate just where the relief money given by the other State governments has been used.”
As for the BJP, Mr. Paswan said if it had any self-respect, it should immediately sever ties with the JD(U).
Dissident JD(U) leader Rajiv Singh “Lallan” lashed out at Mr. Kumar over the “drama” and claimed that the alliance would remain intact.