Election strategist and former JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor on Monday, 2 March slammed Nitish Kumar, saying it was "bad" on the Bihar chief minister's part to not mention the Delhi violence in his over-an-hour address to party workers.
Kishor, who was expelled from the Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) in January, was referring to the chief minister's speech on Sunday at a party 'karyakarta sammelan' here. "It was bad on his (Nitish Kumar) part not to say a word on the Delhi violence," Kishor tweeted.
The last week's communal riots in northeast Delhi left at least 47 people dead and over 200 injured.
Latching on to claims by opposition parties in Bihar that the sammelan saw a less than impressive turnout, Kishor took a swipe at Kumar, saying the event saw "bhaari bheed" (huge crowd).
At a press conference held a couple of days ahead of the event, Bihar JD(U) president Vashishtha Narayan Singh had predicted a turnout of about two lakh people.
"While addressing a 'bhaari bheed' of JD(U) workers Nitish Kumar claimed that the NDA will win more than 200 seats (in the Assembly polls) but did not explain why despite 15 years of his 'sushasan' (good governance) Bihar continues to be the most poor and backward state in the country," Kishor said in a tweet in Hindi.
Kumar had on Sunday exhorted JD(U)workers to strive towards ensuring the NDA's win in "more than 200 seats" when elections to the 243-member Bihar Assembly are held this year.
Claiming that there was a poor turnout at the event, Kumar's rivals have asserted that it reflected the waning popularity of the ruling JD(U) in the state.
RJD leader Rabri Devi, who is a former chief minister of Bihar, told reporters outside the state Assembly premises that "it was a test for Nitish Kumar and his party".
"They failed miserably and will end up finishing third in terms of seat tally when the Assembly polls are held," she said.
On Sunday, Rabri Devi's son Tejashwi Yadav, who the RJD's chief ministerial candidate in this year's Bihar polls, had termed the 'karyakarta sammelan' a "maha nukkad sabha" (a big street corner gathering).
However, JD(U) leader and state minister Ashok Choudhary said that "it was not a public rally but a meeting of workers".
"The turnout was more than what we had expected. Though we admit that there were some shortcomings in making arrangements," he said.
"Marquees should have been put up as the sun was harsh and people felt uncomfortable standing in the open. There should have been more chairs for participants. Vehicles should not have been made to stop far from the venue, due to this people had to walk a long distance", Choudhary said.