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Launching a broadside against Sharad Yadav, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said the JD (U) rebel leader had given up the ideals of socialism to become a "camp follower" of dynastic and family-driven politics.
Kumar was apparently referring to Yadav's ties with RJD president Lalu Prasad after the disintegration of the grand alliance in Bihar.
"He (Sharad Yadav) has given up the ideals of socialism to become 'peechlagu' (a camp follower) of dynastic and family-driven politics," Kumar told reporters after Yadav accused him of "choosing the path of power rather than following the party's philosophy".
In a counter-attack on Yadav, Kumar said the JD(U) rebel had once stood for public probity.
"A man who used to say that democracy is run on the basis of 'lok-laaz' (public probity) has gone against it," Kumar, flanked by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, said after the completion of a weekly public interaction programme.
In a reference to Lalu Prasad, many of whose family members hold top posts in the RJD, he said, "Have you ever heard about anybody from the family of Rammanohar Lohia, Jayprakash Narayan and Karpoori Thakur making it into politics?"
A faction headed by Yadav, a JD(U) Rajya Sabha member, has made a representation before the Election Commission (EC), staking a claim to the party symbol. Kumar's group has also gone to the EC, saying that it had the support of an overwhelming number of MPs and MLAs and should be identified as the real JD(U).
"Let us go for a survey in Bihar (to see) whether the decision to part company with the grand alliance was right or not in the interest of Bihar," Kumar, who is also JD(U) national president, said.
Kumar, who led the grand alliance -- which included the JD(U), RJD and Congress -- to victory in Assembly polls in 2015, resigned in July, after differences with the RJD.
"He (Sharad Yadav) does not have any genuine claim for the party symbol and due to this the EC has already twice rejected their claim. On the other hand, we have the support of all MLAs of Bihar, a majority of MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha which anybody could check," he said.
He also derided Yadav's 'Sajha virasat' (shared heritage) campaign, saying that there was only "shared lust" for property and power.
"The popularity which he (Sharad Yadav) did not draw in the past 40 years of his political career he has won in the last two months, thanks to the media," he said.
Kumar evaded an answer when asked to comment on a media report that the turnover of a firm run by BJP President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah rose by around 16,000 times in 2015-16.
"I have no idea about this. I could not read the newspapers as I had to visit the family of former MLC Bhola Singh who died today. My knowledge about it is only what you are saying," Kumar said.
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