Patna: BJP today rebutted allegations that the PMO was behind the denial of a seat to RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the podium of the Prakash Parva and put the blame squarely on Nitish Kumar government, in an attempt to further fuel rumblings within the grand alliance on the touchy issue.
"Chief Minister should specify whether he had sent names of Lalu Prasad and his minister sons for seat on the dais at the function...when the names were not sent, where comes the question of PMO deleting their names?" senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said in a statement.
The strong riposte came in response to Congress state President and minister Ashok Choudhary blaming the Prime Minister's Office for denial to seats to top leader of the largest constituent of grand alliance ministry in Bihar.
"Probably the name of Lalu Prasad was not sent to the PMO because he is a convict in multi-crore fodder scam and it was a government function," the senior BJP leader said.
"Had the CM wished, he could have sent name of Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav and senior Congress minister Ashok Choudhary to share dais with the PM," he said.
The BJP leader's rejoinder to the controversy is apparently aimed at further fuelling discontentment among a section of RJD leaders, including its Vice President Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who have reacted strongly to the absence of Lalu on the dais.
Congress state chief Ashok Choudhary had also raised the issue and blamed the PMO for it.
Sushil said that during celebration of 350th 'Prakash Parva' on birth anniversary of 10th Guru Govind Singh all the government hoardings carried only photograph of the CM and those of Deputy Chief Minister, Tourism or Urban Development departments which were involved in its organisation was no where to be found.
"The fact is that the CM does not want to see that popularity of any other leaders of the coalition rises," said Sushil, who served as Deputy CM during NDA rule in the state.