Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday night claimed that he has “lots of love” for Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav despite the “harsh words” the latter often uses.
Mr Kumar said this while responding to queries at an event organised by a private news channel in Patna. Maintaining that he does not harbour hard feelings against anybody, he said: “Even with Tejashwi’s father, Lalu, I only had political differences. It never affected our personal relationship.”
The Chief Minister had cited corruption charges to quit the grand alliance in Bihar two years ago and join hands with the BJP. Tejashwi Yadav termed it as a betrayal of allies as well as the people’s mandate and declared that his party will never tie up with the Janata Dal (United) again.
Tejashwi Yadav regularly targets Mr Kumar in speeches and tweets by referring to him as chacha, or uncle, and then following it up with choice epithets. The RJD leader recently shared a news report on CBI infighting, footmarking it with the words: “Shri Shri Dhikkarvadi 420 Nitish Chachaji”, which translates to “condemnible, fraudulent Nitish uncle”. The BJP had come to the Chief Minister’s defence back then, taking exception to the “use of such foul language”.
He had picked on Mr Kumar even after the BJP’s recent defeats in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. “Just after switching sides to the NDA, Nitish Kumar had said that nobody has the potential to challenge Modi. You are planning to take a u-turn again, aren’t you, Chachaji?” he tweeted.
Mr Kumar, however, chose to refrain from hitting back on Tuesday night. “All I want to say is this: Leaders like Tejashwi Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav ought to remember that whenever they emerge victorious in an election, they are blessed by the people for whatever promise they themselves hold and not by virtue of their family background,” he said. “Mahatma Gandhi considered politics without principles a social sin. Dynastic politics, which I have always been opposed to, is an example of politics without principles.”
He was apparently referring to the Congress, which is often accused by the BJP and its allies of practising dynastic politics.
The Chief Minister also refused to give a direct answer to questions whether he plans to groom poll strategist Prashant Kishor as his successor in the party. “I have a lot of affection for him. But please, let us not talk in terms of successors. This is not a monarchy,” he said.