With fissures surfacing within the grand alliance following the sparring between Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal (United) in Bihar, the Congress on Tuesday strongly stood behind the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and told the RJD that if they are not comfortable in the coalition they could walk out.
"If you feel you are not comfortable in the alliance, you are free to walk out," Bihar Congress chief and minister in Nitish government, Ashok Choudhary said while reacting sharply to the snide comments on Nitish by some RJD leaders.
"You say there is rock solid unity in the coalition and yet your leaders pass snide comments on the mukhiya (chief) of the coalition government," he said.
The Congress' strong reaction came in the wake of the controversy triggered by the RJD vice-president Raghubansh Prasad Singh's barb against Nitish Kumar while backing party leader Mohammad Shahabuddin's utterances on him that he was a "circumstantial CM."
Trashing the comments of RJD leaders, Choudhary also did not appreciate the press conference held by the two senior JD(U) ministers on Monday to ring a warning bell for the RJD.
"We also do not appreciate the press conference held by the JD(U) (to denounce RJD leaders' remarks on he CM and ask Lalu Prasad to rein in errant leaders)... Such things create confusion among grass root workers of the coalition," he said.
"The three parties made him (Nitish) chief minister and it does not look good that any of our leaders humiliate the CM," Choudhary said.
"The three secular parties JD(U), RJD and Congress had come together in Bihar as part of a strategy to keep the BJP out of power. If you think now that things are not going according to anyone's wish, anybody is free to leave the grouping," he said.
With RJD'S 80 MLAs, JD(U)'s 71 and Congress' 27 MLAs, the trio is in a coalition in Bihar. Congress has four ministers in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet.
Choudhary said he has apprised the party high command with the latest political situation in Bihar.
On Shahabuddin's comments after walking out of Bhagalpur jail that Lalu Prasad was his leader and not Nitish Kumar, Choudhary saw nothing wrong in it.
"Lalu Prasad is the leader of the RJD, Nitish Kumar is of the JD(U) like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi is for the Congress," he said.