Bihar BJP leaders and their ally Ram Vilas Paswan today dismissed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's resignation as a "scripted drama" enacted to save his leadership in JD(U) amidst a growing clamour against him within the party.
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan claimed that the JD(U) government will soon collapse and Bihar would see fresh elections in the coming months.
"This (resignation) is a drama. His (Kumar's) leadership is under threat after JD(U) suffered a rout in Bihar," Paswan told reporters following a meeting with BJP president Rajnath Singh. LJP won six of the seven Lok Sabha seats it contested in Bihar.
The newly-elected BJP MP from Patliputra, Ram Kripal Yadav, also termed the entire Nitish Kumar episode a "drama" and sought fresh elections in the JD(U)-ruled state.
Ram Kripal, who had left the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD before the recently-concluded general elections, defeated the latter's daughter Misa Bharti in the poll battle.
"The entire move of Nitish Kumar tendering resignation was scripted. He is a good actor and has received special training in dramatics. He uses and throws people out. For him, power is like fish without water," Ram Kripal said.
Later, after meeting top RSS functionaries in the national capital, Ram Kripal told reporters, "It is a drama... going as per a script. Let us see what happens."
Asked whether BJP will try and form a government in Bihar, he said, "In the coming days, BJP and NDA will form the government. The people have given mandate to BJP. The era of regional parties has ended.
RJD, JD(U), their time has ended." Earlier, former Home Secretary RK Singh, who won a parliamentary seat from Ara in Bihar on a BJP ticket, also met RSS officials in New Delhi and said that the Bihar government is in "coma" and on its "deathbed".
"Nitish Kumar has not had cordial relations with big leaders and there is so much dissent. I had earlier also said that this was all a drama. This drama is being done to counter the dissent," Singh said.
Asked whether it would be wrong to imply that BJP was trying to form the government in Bihar since so many of its leaders were meeting RSS officials, another party leader, Ashwini Chaubey, said no such talks were going on and added that BJP does not have the majority in Bihar Assembly.
Chaubey, who won from Buxar, also met RSS functionaries, but termed the meeting a "courtesy visit".
"I think that the proxy government they are nominating is a guest of a few days. In the coming days, the position of JD(U) will be very bad," Chaubey said.
He said that for the sake of the future of Bihar and its people, the next government will be formed by BJP and the promises made by Narendra Modi to the state will be fulfilled.
Bihar would be developed along similar lines as Gujarat, he added.
Asked whether his party was keen on forming the government in Bihar, he said, "No, we are not in a hurry. We do not have the majority. The governor has to decide whether we have a majority or not. We will decide as and when it is required.
Nitish cannot a form a government as it is gone."
BJP spokesperson and newly-elected MP from Bihar, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, meanwhile, hit out at Nitish Kumar over his move to name a new chief minister for the state.
Rudy said that the JD(U) leader wanted a regime in Patna which he can control through a remote control.
"It was expected of him to resign. Now, he is trying to play mind games in Bihar. The fact remains that the countdown for the JD(U) government in Bihar has begun and it has to go, whatever may be the situation," Rudy told reporters here.
Rudy's remarks came in response to Kumar's move to name senior minister Jitan Ram Manjhi as his successor in the chief minister's chair.
"They have chosen Manjhi as the chief minister. I think that Kumar, knowing full well that he cannot survive in power, is possibly using a remote control device (in order to be able to control the government)," Rudy said.
He also said that Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav were "struggling" to find space in the opposition in Bihar with BJP rising in electoral politics in the state.