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Published On: Fri, Jan 24th, 2020

Pavan Verma did not deserve a reply : Says Nitish Kumar

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nitish-kumar-addresses-media-in-patna_831973e0-3c23-11ea-8d17-9068169bb2f5PATNA/ NEW DELHI : In a fresh snub to disgruntled JD(U) leader Pavan Varma, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said the letter from the former career diplomat-turned-politician had “no value” and “no meaning” and hence did not deserve a reply.

Kumar made the remarks here in reply to a query from journalists who had approached him with queries about Varma’s stance after the JD(U) chief rebuffed the national general secretary that he would take a decision about his continuance in the party after receiving a “reply” from the chief minister.
“When a member of the party sends a proper communication, it is replied to. Do you call it a letter? An email sent and the contents shared thereafter with the media. It has no meaning and no value”, Kumar said on the sidelines of a function to mark birth anniversary of Karpoori Thakura former chief minister whom he considers as his political ideologue.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday hit out at his JDU colleague Pavan Varma for making a letter public that revealed the alleged personal conversations between the two leaders which questioned the party’s alliance with BJP and stand on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act.
Kumar and JD(U) leader Pavan Varma have been at loggerheads over the recent letter by the career diplomat- turned-politician, questioning the party’s decision to contest the Delhi assembly polls in alliance with BJP.
Varma had also expressed reservations about the JD(U)s support to CAA.; Varma, who resigned from the IFS in 2013 to take up the role of Kumar’s culture adviser and enjoyed a two-year tenure in the Rajya Sabha subsequently, has been critical of the party’s support to the CAA. The differences, however, seem to have become irreconcilable ever since he shared screenshots of a two-page letter written to Kumar earlier this week over the two issues.

Meanwhile,speaking to the media, Kumar said: “This is not the way to express your displeasure… he [Varma] says I told him certain things, should I tell you what he said to me? I respect him… If he want to go to some other party that is his decision… he has my blessings.”
In a major embarrassment for the BJP-JDU combine, JDU general secretary Varma — who was earlier at odds with the chief minister over the “divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme” — confronted him over the alliance with the saffron party for the upcoming Delhi elections, saying he was “deeply perplexed” by the development.

Varma said he was “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”.
“On more than one occasion, you have expressed your grave apprehensions about the BJP-RSS combine,” Varma said in the letter, which he also put out on his Twitter handle.
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.

He added, “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 BJP leadership has humiliated you. You maintained, on more than one occasion, that the BJP is leading India into a ‘dangerous space’.”
Varma then asked if these were Kumar’s “real views”, “I fail to understand how the JD(U) is now extending its alliance with the BJP beyond Bihar, when even long standing allies of the BJP, like the Akali Dal, have refused to do so”.
Concluding his letter, Varma stressed on the “urgent need” for the JDU 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 not the first time Varma has cornered the chief minister. Earlier, he joined his party colleague Prashant Kishor to voice his disappointment with the JDU’s decision to back the BJP on the Citizenship Amendment Act, which has triggered widespread protests across the country.
The BJP has allotted two seats to the JDU and one to the LJP — its Bihar allies — for the Delhi polls. This is widely seen as an attempt to placate the partners ahead of the Bihar elections scheduled later this year, more so after the BJP’s allies in Maharashtra and Jharkhand deserted it.
For two days, Nitish Kumar  has dealt with undisguised fury over his close aide Pavan Varma’s very public letter revealing his alleged private criticism of ally BJP. Now he is upset with the media for what he says is too much importance given to people who “just keep talking”.
That is what produced the photo today of Nitish Kumar dramatically folding his hands before the media at a party event.  Speaking at a function to mark the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur, Kumar first described schemes he had launched for people from the extreme backward classes.
“There are people who keep saying things,” the CM remarked lightly. Then, with folded hands, he referred to the media contingent. “These bhaisaheb (gentlemen) keep publishing whatever these people say, but see, I don’t have any problem because my focus is on work,” he said.
Earlier today, Mr Kumar made it clear that he was not about to start any conversation or respond to Pawan Varma, the JD9U) general secretary who went public with a letter challenging the Chief Minister.
“Is that a letter? Sending an e-mail without even informing and going straight to the press doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Mr Kumar, the chief of the JDU. He made it clear he didn’t like the importance given to Mr Varma’s letter.
Despite all the complaining, Mr Kumar, in an attempt not to upset ally BJP, avoided talking about the controversial CAA and the NRC or NRP.  Mr Kumar had earlier promised to speak after January 19 on his stand on the NPR.
Mr Varma’s letter had goaded the Chief Minister to spell out his stand on the law that had sparked nationwide protests and questioned his decision to extend his alliance with the BJP to Delhi.
(Agency Inputs With Prerna Pratap in Patna).

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