In fresh trouble for the ruling NDA in Bihar, State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal has squarely blamed alliance partner JD(U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the less than satisfactory condition of higher education in the province.
Mr. Jaiswal also termed as "laughable" the contention of JD(U) that there should be a "punarvichaar" (rethink) on the Agnivpath scheme of recruitment in the armed forces which last week left the State in throes of violent protests.
The BJP leader made the remarks on Wednesday, a day before a video of the same went viral on social media, at the remote Raxaul town falling under his Pashchim Champaran Lok Sabha constituency.
Mr. Jaiswal was holding forth on the promised virtues of "Agnipath" which, he said, would equip youngsters with enough skills and qualifications by the time they were discharged after four years of service.
"I find it laughable when JD(U) leaders demand a rethink. They should do punarvichaar of the state of higher education in Bihar. The portfolio has been with them and students still have to contend with delayed academic sessions, spending more than three years to complete their graduation", said Mr. Jaiswal.
The JD(U), which was last week left fuming after Mr. Jaiswal alleged complicity of the administration in the attack on his house by a mob protesting against Agnipath, was predictably rankled by the latest barb hurled at the party.
Former Minister and JD(U)'s chief spokesman Neeraj Kumar came out with an indignant statement enumerating steps taken for bringing the academic calendar back on track.
He did not mention Mr. Jaiswal by name but prefaced his rebuttal with the Hindi saying "kahin pe nigahen, kahin pe nishana (looking at one place, aiming at another)", in a clear signal that the JD(U) would not take kindly to any snide remarks by its ally, whatever may be the pretext.