Tejashwi seeks to rankle Nitish, ends up getting ticked off

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Patna, Jan 25 (PTI) RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was on Monday ticked off by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his former boss, whom he sought to place on the mat by raising the demand for conferring 'Bharat Ratna' on late socialist leader Karpoori Thakur.

Thakur was a former Chief Minister and OBC stalwart whom Kumar as well as Yadavs father Lalu Prasad consider their mentors. His 117thbirth anniversary was celebrated on Sunday.

The 31 years old opposition leader, who likes to rankle the chief minister with critical posts on his Twitter handle, came out with a couple of caustic tweets demanding the highest civilian honour for the late leader.

'Nitish ji, we understand that you are now held hostage by the BJP and have been rendered incapable of even securing central status for Patna University. But, at least you should set politics aside and support our demand for Bharat Ratna to Karpoori Thakur.

'Would you agree to join our MPs and MLAs in a parade before the Rashtrapati Bhavan to press the demand?' Yadav tweeted.

The former Deputy CM was referring to an incident of October, 2017 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the Bihar capital to attend a function held as part of centenary celebrations of the Patna University.

The chief minister, himself an alumnus of the varsity, had in his address made repeated requests, with his hands folded, for the grant of central status.

However, in his speech Modi had dismissed the grant of central status as an outdated practice and said PU should try making use of the Centres measures to help universities become 'world class'.

The gesture by the Prime Minister was construed as a reflection of Kumars diminished clout with the BJP, which he had dumped in 2013 but realigned four years later.

Yadav followed up his tweet with another post on the micro-blogging site minutes later.

'Bharat Ratna for Karpoori Thakur is our old demand. The NDA has 39 Lok Sabha MPs from Bihar where the total number of seats is 40. Why is the double engine government unable to do the honour to Thakur? 'Is it because he hailed from a socially unprivileged class? Why does the CM not meet the PM with the demand?' he asked.

Kumar, who famously described the young political rival as 'the son of my friend, close enough to be a brother' some time ago, shot back.

'We have already sent our recommendation to the Centre for conferring Bharat Ratna on Karpoori Thakur. In the past, too, recommendations to the effect had been sent in the year 2007 and again in 2017, 2018 and 2019. It is our earnest demand that he gets Bharat Ratna', Kumar tweeted.

Although Kumar did not tag or make any mention of Yadav, what propelled him to come out with the tweet was not lost on the politically savvy people of the state.

Meanwhile, a fragment of the speech delivered by Kumar on the previous day on the occasion of Thakurs birth anniversary has triggered speculations in a section of the media that he had grown wary of being displaced by the new and aggressive BJP.

The saffron party has come out with a statement taking exception to the 'misinterpretation'.

In his speech at the JD(U) state headquarters, Kumar had recalled dethroning of Thakur, the then chief minister, after he implemented recommendations of the Mungeri Lal Commission which provided reservations to OBCs.

In the same breath, Kumar remarked cryptically 'similarly people tend to get angry with us when we do something for the uplift of the downtrodden'.

Karpoori Thakur who first became the chief minister of Bihar in 1970 had to quit after six months in June 1971.

He became the CM again in the government of Janata Party, an amalgam of Indian National Congress (Organisation), Charan Singh's Bharatiya Lok Dal (BLD), Socialists and Bhartiya Jana Sangh, the earlier avatar of the BJP, in 1977, but again he had to quit after two years in office.

Kumars reference was to Thakur's second term.

The JD(U) de facto leader has returned as chief minister for the fourth consecutive term though his party returned with a tally that was far lower than that of the BJP.

State BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand, however, came out with a strongly worded statement saying 'Karpoori Thakur is a role model for all of us.

'His remarks about the late leaders political life must not be misinterpreted and conclusions must not be drawn about the current political scenario in the state'. PTI NAC SNS SNS