The Janata Dal (United) on Tuesday questioned why the Congress was “bent on shortening” the longevity of Bihar’s grand alliance, PTI reported. The Congress on Monday had criticised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for extending support to the National Democratic Alliance’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind instead of the Opposition’s pick Meira Kumar.

“Why are some people bent on making it permanent with such comments and shortening the life of our grand alliance?” JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said. He also asked the Congress to stop making “unfriendly” and “unwarranted” remarks about the Bihar chief minister. “We want to tell the Congress that never has any JD(U) leader made adverse remarks against Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi, but such comments against our top leader will affect the tenure of the alliance,” Tyagi said, according to India Today.

On the JD(U)’s relation with the BJP, he said, “Our relations with the BJP were natural but we parted ways due to our ideological differences,” he said. The saffron party, on the other hand, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kumar had a “natural admiration” for each other. “The coalition in Bihar is riddled with internal contradictions...The open attacks among the alliance partners signal a massive churn,” BJP Spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said.

On June 23, Kumar had said that the Opposition had fielded Meira Kumar as their presidential nominee only for her to “lose”. He had also said there was no reason for the party to reconsider their support to Kovind, as it was asked by Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

The NDA makes up 48.6% of the electoral college that will vote in the presidential election on July 17, after current President Pranab Mukherjee finishes his term on July 24. With support from regional parties, such as Janata Dal(United), Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK(Amma), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, it appears that Kovind now has the support of 60% of the electoral college.