Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal (United) is grappling with the problems from two senior party leaders- Pawan Verma, a former diplomat and Prashant Kishor, a poll strategist, notwithstanding the fact that both leaders lack their own political support base in Bihar.
But Verma and Kishor have one advantage, since they are not grassroot leaders and not seen as politicians in the real sense of the word, what public statements they make, these carry a sense of ‘neutral’ viewpoints. It might be a reason when Verma, holding the post of party general secretary shot off a letter to Nitish, demanding ideological clarifications of the party on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPA), the CM sought to put up a brave face in public and take a dig at Verma for his letter.
Notwithstanding these outbursts of two senior JD (U) leaders, the party under the leadership of Nitish was successful in cultivating a constituency of Muslims in his favour by launching pro minority schemes. Nitish can ill afford the distinction between his party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the issue of Hindutva politics getting further blurred.
Nitish said he was surprised over letter of Verma, telling him plainly that he could join any other party, according to his wish.
Verma, in his letter had sought ideological clarifications of JD(U) on CAA, NRC and NPR. The stand of the party on these issues was crystal clear, Nitish said, adding, ” this is not the proper way for any one to behave in the party.”
The JD(U) has always accorded priority to protecting the interest of common man since long and its stand on some issues is very clear and there is no space of any confusion for any one over it, he added.
Chief Minister said, “Mr Verma is a learned person and he has every respect for him, albeit the latter was not so respectful to him (by writing letter).”
If Verma had any confusion or he was interested to seek certain clarifications from him on some issues, he should have talked to him for the purpose, he said adding that Mr Verma could have also raised such issues in meeting of the party but the way he had behaved by writing a letter and making it public was surprising.
In his letter, Verma had also expressed his annoyance over JD (U)’s alliance with BJP for Delhi poll.
State JD(U) president Bashishth Narain Singh had also expressed his anguish over the letter of Verma saying leaders in the party should not make their own views public, which do not follow the party line. Such leaders not adhering to the party line would be shown the door, if they crossed the limits, he warned.
Principal General Secretary of JD(U) K C Tyagi said that the party had supported Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in both Houses of parliament, paving the way for it to take the shape of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). So far as the question of National Register of Citizens (NRC) was concerned, CM had already announced that it would not be implemented in Bihar, he added.
Tyagi said that leaders seeking clarifications on certain issues should either talk to party president or raise it on party platform, rather than making statements in public. Verma should not have made it public the issues he had discussed with CM in private, he added.
It would be interesting to see what action Nitish takes against Verma and also Prashant Kishor, who had also embarassed the party through his statement on CAA.
A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah has claimed in Lucknow that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) would stay despite protests, Prashant Kishor asked him, “Why don’t you go ahead and implement the CAA and NRC in chronology”?
If something does not happen in immediate future, it may be construed that Nitish, known for his political flip flops had spoken on Verma just for public consumption and assuage sentiments of BJP.
Senior BJP leader and union minister Giriraj Singh has already said if action is not against the two leaders, it only meant they have the backing of Nitish.