Patna: In a rare moment of political congeniality, one of the BJP’s most senior leaders in Bihar paid tribute today to Sharad Yadav, whose party untethered a long-standing alliance with the BJP last year.
“In my political career, I owe a lot to one man – Sharad Yadav,” said Sushil Kumar Modi, who is likely to lead the BJP’s campaign for the Bihar election, due next year.
Till June last year the BJP and Mr Yadav’s Janta Dal United co-governed Bihar. Nitish Kumar was Chief Minister; Mr Modi, 62, was his deputy. Mr Kumar insisted on divorcing the BJP after a 17-year political partnership because the party chose Narendra Modi to lead its national campaign – a move that led the BJP to a stunning victory.
In Bihar, the BJP won 23 of the parliamentary seats, the Janata Dal United secured just two. Nitish Kumar quit office and installed another leader from his party as chief minister.
Mr Modi’s praise for Sharad Yadav, who is the other centre of power for the Janata Dal United, comes after members of both their parties assaulted each other in the Bihar Assembly yesterday.
Mr Modi blamed Nitish Kumar for instigating the brawling, who angrily denied the charges. Today, the BJP leader apologized in the Bihar Assembly for his accusations.
Mr Modi’s praise for Sharad Yadav today is reportedly his acknowledgement of the Janata Dal United leader’s effort in having him appointed as Deputy Chief Minister in 2005 when their coalition won the state election for the first time (it was re-elected in 2010).
Mr Modi, in a reciprocal gesture, allegedly ensured that legislators from his party did not, in collaboration with rebels from the Janata Dal United, field a candidate for the Rajya Sabha election in June, allowing Sharad Yadav to win the election unopposed – he had lost the Lok Sabha election from his constituency of Madhepura.