Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's tweet likening himself to “chandan” (sandalwood), which remains unaffected despite snakes wrapping themselves around it, has created a flutter in poll-bound Bihar as it is being seen as directed against his ally RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
One @SunilVChandak posed a question to Kumar on his programme “Ask Nitish” on Twitter on July 20--“#AskNitish if you win with Laluji and the numbers are significant, how you will be able to give good development ordinated government?” In reply, Kumar had tweeted, “Bihar's development is my sole agenda. Jo Rahim uttam prakriti, ka kari sakat kusang.
Chandan vish vyapat nahi, lipte rahat bhujang (Bad company doesn't affect a virtuous man, as the sandalwood tree is not affected by snakes wrapping themselves around it).” Kumar's comments quoting 16th century poet Rahim were seen as a veiled attack on Lalu, with whose party Kumar's JD(U) has entered into an uneasy coalition ahead of the state polls.
When the media asked Lalu about the tweet, the RJD leader said though he did not know the facts, it was probably directed against BJP. “Nitish Kumar should clarify about his tweet,” he said.
Kumar, on his part said, “The development of Bihar is my sole agenda and through Rahim's couplet I wanted to assure people that I could never be diverted from this path.” Kumar said his remarks were indeed aimed at BJP.
Interestingly, when Kumar was declared the chief ministerial candidate of the ‘secular alliance' last month, Lalu had said he was ready to drink “poison” to crush the “cobra” of communalism in Bihar, which was seen as reflecting his discomfort at the JD(U) leader helming the coalition.
“I am ready to drink poison to crush the hood of this snake, the cobra of communalism,” Lalu had said. Kumar said, “BJP, which has poisonous thoughts and a communal agenda, did not succeed in diverting me from rule of law and path of development.”
Kumar had led the JD(U)'s exit from NDA over appointment of Narendra Modi as BJP's campaign chief for the Lok Sabha polls on June 16, 2013, ending a 17-year association. “Lalu Prasad had also said that to defeat communal forces he is prepared to gulp poison...was he calling me poison?” he asked.
The BJP, however, insisted that Kumar's remarks were indeed directed at Lalu as his tweet was in response to a query on ‘jungle raj', a term used to describe the alleged misgovernance during 15-year Lalu-Rabri dispensation.
“The question was asked in the context of ‘jungle raj' of Lalu Prasad. So, BJP doesn't figure anywhere. Let Nitish make any number of clarifications, but his comments have unravelled the truth of their relationship,” senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told PTI. His party, Modi said, was capable of protecting the state from the “snake” and the “poison”.