Patna | Jagran News Desk: Speculations of a rift between JD(U) and the BJP in Bihar were further fulled after the saffron party stayed away from a Dussehra function at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

None of the BJP’s top leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, turned up for the celebrations of the Dussehra festival at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. Local BJP MLA and other BJP ministers also stayed away from the event.

According to an official release from the state government, the event was attended by assembly speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Patna District Magistrate and other officials. The organisers, however, said that they were ‘surprised’ by the absence of the BJP leaders.

“Everyone was invited and they used to come, but today no one turned up from BJP... we had no prior information that their absence was avoidable,” said Kamal Nopani, a member of the trust committee. Meanwhile, several BJP leaders, -- including Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad -- had announced that they would stay away from any Dussehra function in the city.

A section of BJP leaders, which is led by Union Minister Giriraj Singh, have been at loggerheads with the JD(U). On Sunday, Giriraj attacked the Nitish Kumar government for its "inept" handling of the water-logging crisis.

Singh, who was formerly a member of the state cabinet, said, "Jab taali sardaar ko, to gaali bhi sardaar ko" (the leader gets het praise as well as the blame), when asked about the chief minister and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi coming under attack over the inundation of several parts of the city following torrential rainfall last week.   

However, the JD(U) was quick to react to it and the party came out with a barrage of retorts against Singh and the BJP.

"He (Giriraj Singh) is not even comparable to a speck of dust on Nitish Kumar's feet. One does not become a leader just by chanting the name of Mahadev (Lord Shiva) every now and then," JD(U) spokesman Sanjay Singh fumed.

Meanwhile, BJP state spokesman Nikhil Anand refuted a rift between the two allies and said, “it would not be proper to view the absence of BJP leaders at the event as a sign of some discord between the NDA allies.”

“The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is rock solid and the acrimony that was seen recently is a thing of the past. The BJP is more concerned about winning the Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana besides the by-elections in Bihar which we are contesting in alliance with the JD(U),” news agency PTI quoted Anand as saying.

“All BJP leaders who could not be seen at the Dussehra function had, notably, stayed away from the Durga Puja celebrations as well. Not because we are sulking but because the idea is to tell the people of Patna that the party, which they have been voting for long, is with them in their hour of adversity,” he added.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma