Patna: Against the backdrop of questions raised by BJP over his earlier silence on 2002 Gujarat riots, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday appeared to attack Narendra Modi, saying maintenance of law and order was state government`s responsibility.
Kumar`s response came after RJD chief Lalu Prasad asked if the Chief Minister was genuinely opposed to Modi why did he not quit as the Railway Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government after the Gujarat riots in 2002.
Kumar reminded Prasad that a point by point rebuttal was given to the RJD chief when he had raised the issue in Parliament long back.
"I have given him a point by point rebuttal. The job of a Railway Minister is to look after railway safety but the responsibility to look into the problem of public order, law and order belongs to the states.
"Lalu Prasad has a habit of speaking much. He must be remembering it quite well that when he was the Railway Minister and had said this, he had got into a maze. I had replied to him in Parliament elaborately on that," Kumar told reporters here.
Reflecting widening rift with JD-U, BJP had yesterday said that Nitish Kumar was "nobody" to give a certificate on secularism to his Gujarat counterpart.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi had rubbed in the point that Kumar was part of the Vajpayee government when the Godhra incident took place in 2002 and still continued to be a part of NDA.
The ruptures in NDA over the issue surfaced after JDU on Sunday virtually vetoed Modi`s much speculated projection as BJP`s Prime Ministerial nominee demanding a "secular" candidate for it.