Patna: A cabinet minister of Bihar on Friday made sarcastic comments about Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on his return to the NDA, drawing a sharp reaction from the JD(U) which demanded action against the BJP leader.

Pramod Kumar, who holds the tourism portfolio, was asked for his reaction to RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha having described the BJP as “Bharatiya Jumla Party” at a rally in East Champaran district on Thursday.

The minister retorted “Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad used to describe the BJP in the same way. But where are they now?”

He went on to say that it was Nitish Kumar who came back to the BJP.

Asked whether the two parties came together for power, he said, “Nitish Kumar came back owing to a problem. Had he remained in the Mahagathbandhan, he would have had to visit the jail to meet Lalu Prasad.”

Kumar had walked out of the Mahagathbandhan, which also comprised the Congress, and returned to the NDA last year following corruption cases lodged against Lalu Prasad’s son and the then Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav.

JD(U) spokesman reacted strongly to the tourism ministers statement, saying “Nitish Kumar is not just our national president, he is also the chief minister and an immensely popular leader.

“In politics, one has to be very careful about one’s choice of words. We would like our alliance partner, the BJP, to take note of the development and take appropriate action.”

BJP state spokesman Sanjay Singh Tiger, however, clarified, “The minister’s remarks are not being taken in the right spirit. He was not speaking about the chief minister per se. He was expressing anguish over the behaviour of Upendra Kushwaha, who is our alliance partner.”

Meanwhile, the RJD accused Kushwaha of “dilly-dallying” and avoiding an exit from the NDA because of “attachment to the minister’s chair”.

“For long the RLSP chief has been sidelined in the NDA while the Grand Alliance has been welcoming him with open arms. Taking a decision should not have been a tough task but it seems he keeps dilly-dallying because of attachment to the minister’s chair,” RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary said.