Patna: The ruling NDA in Bihar on Tuesday hit the roof over barbs hurled by the RJD at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for functioning from his official residence, without stepping out, for close to three months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The tone was set by his arch rival Lalu Prasad, the RJD’s jailed founding president, who tweeted on Monday, “This Chief Minister has run away, leaving his people in the lurch in the midst of the corona pandemic. In the coming elections, take this deserter’ to task.
Prasad is lodged in a Ranchi hospital due to multiple Ailments. Opposition leader Rabri Devi, MLA Shiv Chandra Ram, former MP Bulo Mandal and veteran leader Tanweer Hassan took to social media to criticise the chief minister.
Tejashwi Yadav, who had served as Nitish Kumar’s deputy for the nearly two-year-long period during which the JD(U) and the RJD had shared power, sought to remind his former boss that he was “the only CM to have not stepped out of his house for 84 days” which was essential “to take stock of the ground situation and instill confidence among the people”.
“If you are scared of something, I am willing to accompany you. But, at least now, please step out, the 30- year-old RJD leader said.
“The people of the country are saying that the Bihar CM is a man stricken by fear. You abuse the state machinery by spending hours every day, video conferencing with your party colleagues, but you showed no concern about the common people,” he added.
“It is known to all what miseries were inflicted upon those who were lodged at quarantine centres set up by your government. Please, wake up now, he added.
Sushil Kumar Modi, veteran BJP leader and deputy CM and a strident critic of Prasad and his family, hit back with a series of tweets.
“Lalu Prasad should know upon the request of which Chief Minister 4,000 special trains were commissioned for ferrying home migrants struck during lockdown? Bihar alone accounted for 1,506 trains which served 21 lakh laborers, he tweeted.
He also called Lalu Prasad “a prisoner of the prejudices of his lantern age which rendered him incapable of understanding concepts like work from home and virtual interactions”.
“Laluism needs to be politically quarantined, added Modi.
He also sought to remind the former Bihar chief minister that he has been “in jail for 1,095 days” and that his political successor (Tejashwi) stayed away from a 33-day assembly session after the Lok Sabha polls last year and had been out of the state for 50 days during the lockdown.
JD(U) leaders Ashok Chaudhary and Neeraj Kumar, both members of the state cabinet, and Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, the party’s state unit spokesman also hit out at the opposition.