Shivanand Tiwari waves a red flag: let’s not take Modi too lightly

Even as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dismissed talk of a "Modi wave", party MP Shivanand Tiwari on Tuesday seemed to differ. Warning that BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi poses a serious challenge to the JD(U), Tiwari said, "Modi rose to this position from being a tea vendor's son... He must not be taken lightly and it is time that the JD(U) united to face this challenge."

While Nitish announced the party's "Sankalp" rally and called for party unity, he seemed to face some rebellion, as Tiwari and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh questioned the manner in which the party was being run and senior leaders were sidelined.

Tiwari, who was removed from the post of party spokesperson recently, accused the party leadership of ignoring him and giving preference to some young leaders. 

"We, the old leaders, are socialists and cannot bow to the leadership and attend his durbar," said Tiwari.

"Party workers are being snubbed by bureaucrats. I have the courage to take up this serious matter. Even if I am sacked, I will raise the issue," said Singh, a prominent Rajput leader from Jamui region.

Though a senior JD(U) leader termed the duo's statements as "political bargaining" ahead of the 2014 elections, the timing may be a cause of worry for Nitish. It may also embolden other senior leaders to speak out against him.

Following the party's split from the BJP, the Chief Minister expanded his cabinet to counter a possible rebellion. The JD(U) has already suspended former minister Chhedi Paswan for meeting Modi and two MPs — Jay Narain Nishad and Purnamasi Ram — for "anti-party activities".

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