With the Janata Dal (United) firm in its opposition to a bill against triple talaq, the Congress on Friday said it was high time that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party walked out of the BJP-led NDA, otherwise it will be wiped out from Bihar.
The BJP sought to downplay the divergent stance taken by the JD(U), its ally in Bihar, on the bill, saying "no difference of opinion within the NDA on the issue of development".
Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh said the JD(U) had sharp ideological differences with the BJP on important issues like the construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and on triple talaq.
The JD(U) should realise that its standing among the people of Bihar would be imperiled if it remains in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In such an eventuality, it will be wiped out from the state, Singh said here.
The JD(U) had made its stand on the triple talaq issue clear even when an ordinance on the same was promulgated by the Union cabinet.
Leader of the JD(U) in Rajya Sabha and the party's general secretary Ram Chandra Prasad Singh had favoured arriving at a consensus with other parties on the issue. He had also warned that if a bill is brought on this issue in Parliament, the JD(U) will voice its opinion more vocally.
After the bill was sent to the Rajya Sabha, the party's state president and member of the Upper House Vashishtha Narayan Singh made it clear that JD(U) will not support the bill.
The JD(U) has six members in Rajya Sabha, including the Deputy Chairman Harivansh. Lack of support from the party will further reduce the NDA's support base on this issue in the Upper House, where it is already short of majority.
Ending more than a decade of political alignment, the JD(U) had snapped ties with the BJP in 2013 but returned to the NDA in 2017 after a short-lived collaboration with the Congress-RJD combine to form the Grand Alliance.
He had also reiterated the party's long-standing position that the Ayodhya issue should be resolved either through a court judgement or mutual agreement among different groups.
In its bid to downplay the JD(U)'s stand, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said, "Allies have a different opinion on matters like Ram temple, Article 370, a uniform civil code and triple talaq from before. But there is no difference of opinion within the NDA on the issue of development."
"We have succeeded, in Bihar, in putting the state on development map while keeping contentious issues aside," Modi, also a national executive member of the BJP, tweeted.
Though he did not name any party, his remarks were clearly aimed at the assertion of the JD(U).