In the past three days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made two political gestures to indicate that all is well between allies. Or not, Call Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, to inform him of the NDA’s decision to appoint former Jharkhand Governor Drupadi Murmo as the presidential candidate. Then, on Friday, JD(U) National President Rajiv Ranjan Singh, or Lalan Singh, sat in the front row as Murmo submitted her candidacy in Delhi.
Even as the BJP central leadership reached out to its ally and refrained from raising any issue due to the recent disagreements, BJP Chairman Dr Sanjay Jaiswal and JD(U) Chairman were embroiled in a row on Friday.
The two leaders always fell out of favor with each other. On Friday, Jeswal took to social media to dig into Kushwaha on how the JD(U) leader used to organize sit-ins to demand land for the Kendria Vidyalaya schools in Bihar when he was the chairman of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP). Koshua merged his party with the JD (U) party last year.
In response, the leader of the JD (U) party said that everything he achieved was because of his hard work and talent and that his “political life pages” were there. As a character, Koshua told Jeswal, “Like you, I haven’t achieved anything for humanitarian reasons.” He was indicating that the BJP leader had inherited the legacy of his father and former West Champaran MP Madan Jaiswal. In a specific response, the BJP chief in the state said, “I have done MBBS and MD. I have to have the brains to make it happen.”
This war of words erupted when Kushwaha, who was the Federal Minister of State for Education in Narendra Modi’s first government, immediately responded to the BJP leader’s criticism of the state’s Education Minister and JD(U) party leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhry regarding “academic delays to courses of most Bihar universities” . Defending his party colleague, Koshuaha said the state government is taking all steps to implement education reforms.
The feud between the two leaders also erupted earlier this year when controversial historian and BJP leader Daya Prakash Sinha likened Mauryan king Ashoka to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. With the entire opposition raging over the comments, Jaiswal tried to play down the matter and said that the FIR had been filed on the matter and the law would take its own course.
Kushwaha criticized Jaiswal saying that “submission of the FIR means nothing” and the actual requirement was to restore the Padma award given by the historian. Kushwa believe their origin lies in the Mauryan dynasty and claim that Chandragupta Maurya was a descendant of Kush, the son of the Hindu god Ram. Many Kushwaha leaders selectively depict Mauryan kings to further their policies.
Presently, with his exit from RCP Singh’s JD(U) party, Upendra Kushwaha has the opportunity to cement his position in the party.
With JD(U) seeming to have buried his differences with the BJP, it remains to be seen if the bad blood between Kushwaha and Jaiswal manages to destabilize this period of peace among the allies.