New Delhi: Not impressed by his "secular" pitch, the Congress on Monday ridiculed Nitish Kumar for his anti-Narendra Modi rhetoric saying the controversy over NDA's prime ministerial candidate was a "fixed match" between BJP and JD(U).
At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Rashid Alvi evaded questions on whether Congress will welcome JD(U) if the latter walked out of NDA saying, "We will see when it happens."
In a dig at JD(U) for its demand from BJP to announce before Lok Sabha elections its prime ministerial candidate with "secular credibility" and a "thinking like Vajpyee, senior Congress leader from Bihar Shakeel Ahmed said, "We are at a loss to understand Nitish Kumar's logic that Modi is communal and LK Advani is secular."
Though the senior leadership of Congress generally refrains from attacking Vajpayee, Ahmed insisted "Modi is only a symptom of the disease of communalism, which was initiated by Advani and Vajpayee in the politics of independent India."
He said that Kumar "very conveniently forgets" the statement of Vajpyee within a fortnight in Goa on the Gujarat episode that "what was happening in Gujarat was a manifestation of nationalist sentiments".
At the AICC briefing, Alvi refused to give a direct answer when asked whether Congress considers Kumar secular, pointing out that JD(U) is an ally of the NDA and Kumar heads a government in alliance with the BJP in Bihar.
"People will decide, who is secular and who is not. People will decide whether he (Kumar) is secular or not. He is running a government with the help of BJP," he said.
There is a view in the party that JD(U) may eventually stick to NDA because Kumar's "rhetoric" on secularism is more to do with the prime ministerial race within NDA.
"Bihar BJP ministers are saying our chief minister is talking rubbish. But neither ministers are resigning nor does the chief minister dismissing them. This is a fixed match," Ahmed, who was speaking separately, said responding to the attack on Kumar by some BJP ministers of the state.