Angry BJP flays Nitish, says money not Gujarat CM’s


New Delhi/Lucknow : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday sent “a strong message” expressing its anger to Janata Dal-United leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying the flood relief money he returned was not of his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi but the public there.

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“Nitish Kumar must re-consider his decision that has taken the entire country by surprise. He (Kumar) must realise that the relief fund provided by the Gujarat government was not any kind of debt that can be returned… One can return the debt, but not the assistance,” senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra told reporters in Lucknow.

“Nitish Kumar must know that the money he returned was not of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, or any individual… It belonged to the public of Gujarat, who wanted to help the flood victims (in Bihar),” he said.

Another BJP leader, requesting anonymity, told IANS in New Delhi: “The BJP has sent a strong message to the JD-U. We can not tolerate such behaviour of Nitish Kumar.”

The message was conveyed to JD-U president Sharad Yadav who met BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain in the capital Sunday, a day after Nitish Kumar returned the Rs.5 crore aid money given for flood relief.

Nitish Kumar was reportedly miffed over advertisements featuring him and Narendra Modi and the latter’s reference to the aid provided by Gujarat during the 2008 Kosi floods.

Mishra said that by returning the aid money, Nitish Kumar had not only hurt the sentiments of the people of Gujarat but also all Indians.

It shows “narrow-mindedness and petty politics. It is unfortunate. Nitish Kumar should accept his mistake”, he said.

“It appears the decision is related to vote-bank politics in Bihar, which has a sizeable number of Muslims,” Mishra said.

“If Nitish Kumar wanted to appease the minority community, he should have come forward and spoken over the Bhopal gas tragedy as 70 percent of the victims there were from the minority community. Why is he (Kumar) silent over the 1984 tragedy? Why is he not ready to take up the issue on behalf of the minority community?” he asked.

Mishra said Kumar’s act would definitely affect the BJP-JD(U) coalition government in Bihar. But, he was quick to add: “Right now we are in no mood to end the coalition.”

“His (Kumar) decision has definitely not sent a good message to the public of Bihar and Nitish Kumar must make every effort to strengthen the coalition.”