Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday ridiculed the claim of Union Home Minister Amit Shah that his alliance with former adversary Lalu Prasad was unsustainable like a mix of “oil and water”.
The JD(U) supreme leader also accused the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of throttling the media while blaming “misgivings” about some news anchors for their boycott announced by the INDIA coalition.
“I take no notice of these people who are rattled by my efforts to bring together the opposition and, therefore, keep talking rubbish (und-bund bolta hai),” Mr Kumar told reporters in Bakhtiyarpur town, on the outskirts of the state capital.
He was responding to queries about the rally addressed by Mr Shah, widely regarded as the BJP’s principal strategist, in north Bihar’s Jhanjharpur.
Rebutting Mr Shah’s charge of misgovernance in the state, Mr Kumar said, “He knows nothing about Bihar and the work we have been doing here. He does not know anything about the country either”.
About the boycott of 14 news anchors for alleged communal and pro-BJP bias, the longest serving chief minister of Bihar said, “I have no idea about it. But I have always been for the freedom of the press which is under attack from those in power at the Centre. I assure you full freedom to practice your profession once we defeat the current dispensation”.
Nitish Kumar, who had snapped ties with the BJP a year ago, added, “The decision (to boycott 14 anchors) may have been taken because of misgivings (un logon ko laga hoga kuchh idhar udhar ho raha hai)”.
Meanwhile, in Patna, former chief minister Rabri Devi, wife of RJD president Lalu Prasad, bristled at the ‘oil and water’ metaphor used by Mr Shah.
“They are shopkeepers (bania). They seem experienced in adulteration. Hence they speak such language”, said Rabri Devi, who succeeded her husband as the chief minister and whose younger son Tejashwi Yadav is the deputy CM.
The homemaker-turned-politician, whose elder son Tej Pratap Yadav is also a minister in the state cabinet, sought to know why Modi government was wary of holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir which was stripped of statehood and split into two Union territories five years ago.
She also alleged that ever since the new opposition coalition was formed, those in the BJP have been “feeling shame in uttering the word India, though it is the name by which our country is known in other parts of the world”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)