New Delhi: Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday took potshots at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad over Kumar's tweet likening himself to sandalwood that remains unaffected by snakes wrapped around it, which his rivals claimed was a barb at Prasad.
"At the time of announcing the pact with JD(U) and naming Nitish Kumar as Chief Ministerial candidate of their alliance, Lalu Prasad had said he was ready to drink poison. Now Nitish Kumar calls him snake. So they are poison and snake to each other. Only God knows how their alliance work," Paswan said.
As the tweet created a flutter in political circles, Prasad said it was Nitish Kumar who should explain his remark.
Kumar later said that his tweet and the use of Rahim's couplet was meant for BJP. Paswan, however, contested this, suggesting that it was an afterthought by JD(U) leader as his response had been to a query on alliance with Lalu Prasad-led RJD.
The LJP chief said that Kumar had referred to Rahim's couplet 'Jo Rahim uttam prakriti, ka kari sakat kusung, chandan vish vyapat nahi, lipte rahat bhujang' (Bad company does not affect a virtuous man, just like the sandalwood tree is unaffected by snakes wrapped around it) in response to a question by one of his twitter followers about RJD's role in grand alliance if it were to bag more seats than the JD(U).
"How can he attack BJP when asked about the RJD. The strains are out in open. We have seen senior RJD leader Raghubansh Prasad Singh talking about strained relationship between the two parties even after the tie-up. This alliance is not going anywhere. This cosmetic coming together of the two will not work," said Paswan.
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.
After the defeat of the Congress-RJD-JDU alliance in the recent MLC elections for Bihar, Raghubansh Prasad Singh said that RJD workers were not enthused seeing only the photo of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in all promotional hoardings and the alliance was not moving in the right direction.
Latching on to Prasad's remarks that his party will counter with 'tumtums' or horse-carts the BJP's 'parivartan raths' or chariots in Bihar, Paswan said, "Lalu has exposed the tall development claims made by Nitish Kumar."
"After ten years of his rule, Nitish Kumar claimed of constructing roads across the state. Now Lalu ji feels that only 'tumtums" can run on Bihar roads. He has made it clear that all claims of Kumar about infrastructure and road development in Bihar are false," the LJP chief said.