Nitish says he’ll miss Sushil Modi, points to BJP for answers

Does the BJP’s decision to appoint Tarkishore Prasad, four time BJP MLA from Katihar, as leader of BJP legislature party in place of Sushil Kumar Modi left the former deputy CM sulking?

Modi maintained a stoic silence at the swearing-in ceremony of the new NDA cabinet. He walked into the hall, greeted the newly-elected ministers and quietly sat down. After the swearing-in ceremony, he quietly walked for a high tea and refused to open his mouth before the media. He sat with a group of legislators but did not go to the enclosure where chief minister Nitish Kumar, Union home minister Amit Shah or BJP national president J P Nadda were sitting. After some time, he quietly walked off.

The BJP’s high command’s decision to replace him with a new face may have come as a surprise to several party leaders and also to BJP’s alliance partner, the JD(U).

“I think that the people of Bihar have given their approval for the continuation of Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi,” said state president Bashistha Narain Singh.

But, if BJP leaders are to be believed, Sushil Kumar Modi is in for some role at the centre.

“Sushil Modi Ji is not at all upset. He is an asset to us. Party will think about him, a new responsibility will be given to him,” said former Maharashtra chief minister and Bihar in-charge Devendra Fadnavis.

Party sources said that Modi was one of the few leaders to receive Shah at Patna airport when he came to attend the swearing-in.

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Even CM Kumar said that he would be missing Modi as they enjoyed a very good rapport. Modi served as deputy CM for 11 years under Nitish Kumar.

“Yes,” said Kumar, on being asked if he will be missing Sushil Modi. “It is the decision of the BJP not to field Sushil Modi as the deputy chief minister. They should be asked about this,” he said after the swearing in.

While Modi being overlooked for the post of deputy CM has become the talking point, a group of BJP leaders tried to assuage the hurt sentiment of the leader. Union minister Giriraj Singh put out a tweet for Sushil Kumar Modi and said, “Respected Sushil ji, you are the leader, you had the post of deputy chief minister, you will continue to remain the leader of BJP in the future as well, nobody’s status is determined by the post he holds,” Singh tweeted in Hindi in response to Modi’s tweet on Monday that “No one can take away the post of a party worker.”

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Sources close to Modi, on conditions of anonymity, said that he himself proposed the name of Tarkishore Prasad and opted out from the race of deputy chief ministership after seeing a lot of “dissension and to ensure that no ugly scene is created in the party following a commendable performance.”

A BJP MLA present at the NDA meeting said, “As soon he proposed the name of Tarkishore Prasad, we immediately realised that something is wrong. He thanked everybody as if giving a farewell speech,” said a BJP MLA.

Party sources said that there could be many reasons and one of could be that the party wanted to go for a generational shift and secondly, because Modi was the lone BJP leader who had been openly attacking Paswan, dismissing LJP’s existence.

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