JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with party colleague Pavan K Varma in this file photo. PTI
Questioning his party’s decision to extend its alliance with the BJP “beyond Bihar” and fight the Delhi Assembly elections together, JD(U) national spokesperson Pavan K Varma has sought “ideological clarity” from party chief Nitish Kumar, saying that the Bihar chief minister had expressed “grave apprehensions” in private about the BJP leading the country into a “dangerous space”.
In a two-page letter to Nitish on Tuesday, Varma, who shared screenshots of the letter on social media, accused the BJP of having “embarked on a massive, socially divisive agenda”.
Saying that he was “deeply perplexed” by the party’s decision to tie up with the BJP in Delhi, Varma said Nitish had, “on more than one occasion”, expressed “grave apprehensions about the BJP-RSS combine”.
Recalling his first meeting with Nitish in August 2012, Varma said: “You had spoken to me at length and with conviction on why Narendra Modi and his policies are inimical for the country. When you were leading Mahagathbandhan, you had openly made a call for ‘RSS-mukt Bharat’.”
“The cause for confusion arises from the fact that, even after you changed tracks and aligned again with the BJP in 2017, your private apprehensions regarding the BJP did not change. For instance, I remember your confessing to me in private how the current leadership in the BJP party has humiliated you. You maintained on, more than one occasion, that the BJP is leading India into a ‘dangerous space’. It was your personal view, as conveyed to me, that the BJP is destroying institutions, and that there is a need for democratic and socialist forces within the country to regroup, a task for which you actually assigned a senior party official,” Varma said in his letter.
This is the letter I have written to @NitishKumar today asking him how the JD(U) has formed an alliance with the BJP for the Delhi elections, given his own views on the BJP, and the massive national outrage against the divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme. pic.twitter.com/ErSynnuiYm
— Pavan K. Varma (@PavanK_Varma) January 21, 2020
“If these are your real views, I fail to understand how the JD(U) is now extending its alliance with the BJP beyond Bihar, when even longstanding allies of the BJP, like the Akali Dal, have refused to do so. This is especially so at time when the BJP, through the CAA-NPR-NRC combine, has embarked on a massive socially divisive agenda, aimed at mutilating the peace, harmony and stability of the country. Mahatma Gandhi, (Ram Manohar) Lohia and JP (Jayaprakash Narayan) — the icons of our party — would have, I strongly believe, unequivocally renounced this agenda and fought tooth and nail,” he said.
Varma said there was “an urgent need for the JD(U) to harmonise what the party constitution says, what the leader of the party feels in private and what actions the party takes in public”.
This is the third time Varma has written to Nitish. Earlier, he had opposed the party’s decision to vote in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, and to support the NPR exercise in Bihar.
When contacted, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express: “We have decided to align with BJP in Delhi in the larger interest of the people of Bihar. The people of Bihar living in Delhi have a greater sense of pride in Bihar now. Moreover, Nitish Kumar does not need a certificate of secularism from anyone. Pavan Varma is looking to side with Lalu Prasad, a corruption convict. Whatever he is saying now may be because of his political unemployment.”