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Nitish speech makes BJP see red
Party hopes of truce in 6 months

Patna, April 14: Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s speech at the JD(U) national executive in Delhi has left Bihar BJP leaders angry. But there is still hope that “something” may turn up in the next six months to save the alliance.

“It’s unfair to target one leader of the BJP. If BJP is a secular party all its leaders and workers are secular. The same is true if one considers the party communal,” senior party leader and PHED minister Chandra Mohan Rai told The Telegraph on Sunday.

He said that an allied party imposing conditions was unacceptable. The BJP had strengthened the alliance at the cost of the party, by ignoring party workers’demands, he said. “But, we hope something turns up which will lead to an amicable solution. There is tremendous pressure from the people of Bihar on both parties to continue the alliance. We won’t do anything to upset the alliance,” he said.

Animal and fish resources minister Giriraj Singh was more forthcoming. “The entire BJP and its leaders and workers are secular. We were secular in 1992, 2003 and will be secular in 2013. We do not turn secular or communal on the whims of another person and we do not require a certificate of secularism from anyone. Acts like wearing a skullcap in public is hypocrisy. The Congress has been wearing these topis (caps) for the last 60 years and has not done anything for the Muslims. He (Nitish) should visit Gujarat. The per capita income of Muslims in Gujarat is the highest in the country. The maximum number of Muslims in government jobs and the police are in Gujarat. He (Nitish) should not try to spread hatred,” Singh said.

A senior party leader and BJP MLA who did not want to be quoted charged Nitish Kumar of playing to the gallery of the Congress. “Why only speak about the Gujarat communal violence? Why not the Bhagalpur communal riots and anti-Sikh riots? The national executive was called just to talk about the Gujarat riot,” he said, alleging that Nitish Kumar was more interested in diverting national issues, heavily loaded against the Congress. He said that there was no way the party would succumb to the JD(U)’s blackmail.

A section of BJP leaders stressed that the JD(U) was bluffing. “The way they went to Delhi, we felt that the alliance would be over within days. But then, they said that they would wait till December. It is an indication that they are feeling insecure about fighting the polls on their own. I have heard that Nitish has carried out pre-poll surveys on the prospects of fighting the polls without the BJP. Clearly, he does not appear comfortable with the prospect of going it alone in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014,” remarked another BJP minister.