Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of backstabbing the Bharatiya Janata Party in his bid to become the prime minister.

Shah made the statement at a rally in Bihar’s Purnea district. He is on a two-day trip to the Seemanchal region in the state.

On August 9, the Janata Dal (United) leader had severed ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and formed a coalition government with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and six other parties of the Grand Alliance. Kumar took the oath as Bihar’s chief minister for the eighth time, while the RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav became his deputy.

Shah on Friday said that the BJP believes in the politics of service and development, and not of selfishness. “In his desire to become the prime minister, Nitish Kumar backstabbed [the BJP], and is now sitting in the lap of RJD and Congress,” the BJP leader said.

The home minister also said that BJP had given the chief minister’s post to Kumar even when his party won only 43 of the 115 seats that it contested, which was the JD(U)’s worst performance since the 2005 Assembly polls.

“Nitish Kumar’s party had won only half as many seats as BJP in the last Bihar assembly elections,” Shah said. “Even then, [Modi] allowed Kumar to be the chief minister because he had promised that in Bihar, the alliance [NDA] will work under Nitish Kumar’s leadership.”

The Union home minister alleged that Kumar’s only objective is “to cling on to power at any cost.”

Relations between the BJP and the JD(U) had soured because of disagreements over a number of matters, such as a proposed population control law, caste census, demand for special category status for Bihar and the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme.

Kumar has said that he has no ambitions of becoming the prime minister, but that he would play a role in uniting Opposition parties against the National Democratic Alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier this month, Kumar met with several Opposition leaders during his visit to Delhi, including the Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal, and the Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar.