Patna, Jan 11 (PTI) Senior BJP leader Bhupender Yadav has predicted a 'major split' in the Rashtriya Janata Dal, triggering a war of words between the two parties which respectively helm the ruling and the opposition coalitions.
Yadav, the BJPs national general secretary in-charge for Bihar, had on Sunday said that Lalu Prasads party would suffer a 'badi toot' (major split) after Makar Sankranti festival later this week and challenged the RJD leadership to avert the crisis.
Speaking after the BJP's state-level training programme the previous day at Rajgir, Bhupender Yadav had claimed that many RJD legislators annoyed with the 'pariwarvad' (nepotism) in Lalu Prasad's party are willing to leave it.
Yadav had also mocked at claims by many RJD leaders that the NDA government would soon fall as many MLAs of Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U) were thinking of jumping the ship as they felt slighted by the BJPs rising clout, by virtue of its numerical superiority.
Former state minister Shyam Rajak, who joined the RJD a few months ago upon expulsion from the JD(U) and has been made a state vice president, had recently sought to buttress the point by citing the defection of JD(U) MLAs to the BJP in Arunachal Pradesh as a proof of uneasy ties between the two allies and increased vulnerability of Nitish Kumars party.
Janata Dal (United) leader in Lok Sabha Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh Monday backed the BJP leader's claim, saying the day he (Bhupender Yadav) wish the RJD would not only split but also merge with the saffron party.
In the recently constituted assembly, RJD had emerged as the single largest party with 75 MLAs, closely followed by BJP which returned with a tally of 74.
The JD(U) finished a distant third, winning only 43 seats.
The BJP leaders remark drew an angry response from RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary, a veteran socialist who called Yadav 'one of my former colleagues in Rajya Sabha whom I respect'.
'If there is any substance in his claim, what is his party waiting for? Let it flex it muscles and demonstrate the capability to break the RJD', Tiwary added with uncharacteristic combativeness.
The belligerence of the septuagenarian, who also made sarcastic reference to the trust deficit between the saffron party and the JD(U), was detested by the state BJP.
State BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand hit back with a strongly worded statement, accusing the veteran socialist of having 'reduced himself to a vassal of, first, Lalu Prasad and now his son Tejashwi Yadav'.
'Bhupender Yadav is the tallest leader of Yadav community in the country', fumed Anand, who himself belongs to the powerful OBC caste group, and added 'it is only a matter of time before his words come true and the RJD disintegrates'.
PTI NAC SNS SNS