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After Kishor-Sushil spat, Nitish says "all is well" in Bihar alliance

After Kishor-Sushil spat, Nitish says all is well in Bihar alliance

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday sought to scotch speculations of a rift with the BJP in the state, asserting "all is well" within the alliance, after JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor pitched for more seats for his party than its saffron partner in the assembly election.

Assembly polls are due in Bihar next year.

"Sab theek hai (all is well)", Kumar told journalists, who sought his response to Kishor's demand, which prompted a riposte from BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who had on Monday dubbed Kishor as a person "engaged in the business of collating political data and coining slogans", and benefiting the opposition.

Kishor, an election strategist-turned-politician, has been a vocal critic of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed nation-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The JD(U) had voted in favour of the new citizenship law in Parliament but said it is against a pan-India NRC.

Nitish Kumar's comment came on the sidelines of an event to mark the 14th death anniversary of late Navin Kishore Prasad Sinha, a BJP leader and former state minister.

Kumar, who is also the JD(U) national president, made the comment days after Kishor, in interviews to TV news channels, insisted on the JD(U) getting to contest more seats than the BJP since his party was the senior alliance partner in the state.

He also referred to BJP president Amit Shah who had said the alliance will face the assembly polls with Nitish Kumar as its chief ministerial candidate.

Sushil Kumar Modi, the state's deputy chief minister, took umbrage and blasted Kishor, reminding him of his "business" of an election strategist.

"The 2020 assembly polls in the state will be fought under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Seat-sharing will be finalized by top leaders of both parties at an appropriate time.

"No problems in that. But those, who have entered politics not driven by ideology but while engaged in the business of collating political data and coining slogans, are making utterances in violation of coalition dharma and benefiting the opposition in the bargain," Modi had tweeted on Monday.

Kishor, who has been roped in by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to devise election strategy, hit right back.

"It is pleasant to listen to discourses on political propriety and ideology from Sushil Modi who became Deputy CM by virtue of circumstances despite the defeat in 2015," Kishor wrote on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday.

"It's the people of Bihar who have decided on Nitish Kumar's leadership and the largest role for the JD(U) and not any other party or its top leadership," he wrote.

Kishor had planned Narendra Modi's hugely successful prime ministerial campaign in 2014 before the two parted ways.

Kishor also supervised Nitish Kumar's campaign in Bihar in the 2015 assembly polls that the JD(U) contested as part of the grand alliance, which included Lalu Prasad's RJD and the Congress.

I-PAC, a company that Kishor founded, in now advising Mamata Banerjee's TMC, Arvind Kejriwal's AAP as also Telangana's ruling YSRCP headed by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy on election matters.

RCP Singh, JD(U) national general secretary (organisation) and its leader in the Rajya Sabha, had also assailed Kishor, terming his remarks "untimely".

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