Janata Dal (United) National Vice President Prashant Kishor on Saturday was criticised for saying that he did not agree with party chief Nitish Kumar’s method of allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party after he left the grand alliance in the state, PTI reported.

Party spokesperson Neeraj Kumar asked why Kishor, who was inducted into the JD(U) in September last year and then elevated as vice president, did not speak out earlier. “He is offering ‘pravachan’ [discourse] on seeking a mandate,” he said. “Where was his ‘gyan’ [wisdom] when the party took the decision to realign with the BJP?”

Neeraj Kumar said Kishor should keep in mind that his own formal entry into the party came after the realignment, “which he is raising questions about now”.

In an interview on Thursday, Kishor had said there were numerous instances of U-turns by politicians, with leaders like Chandrababu Naidu and Naveen Patnaik having joined opposition parties. Kishor had also said there was no yardstick to measure if Nitish Kumar had been right in deciding to leave the “mahagathbandhan” comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in July 2017.

“For those who saw in him [Nitish Kumar] a potential challenger to [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi, the move was a let-down,” Kishor said in the interview. “But those who were of the view that he had begun to compromise on governance in his zeal to take on Modi would feel he was right.”

While Kishor said he agreed with the exit, keeping in view the interests of Bihar, he did not agree with the method. “I have said this earlier and I still hold the view, upon taking the decision to return to the BJP-led coalition, he [Nitish Kumar] should have ideally sought a fresh mandate,” he said.

Kishor had worked as Nitish Kumar’s poll strategist during the 2015 Bihar Assembly election. During that time, Nitish Kumar was the chief ministerial candidate of the Grand Alliance in the state. However, he resigned as chief minister after several corruption cases against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s younger son Tejashwi Yadav, then the deputy chief minister, came to light.

In less than 24 hours, Nitish Kumar was sworn in again with support from the BJP.

Reacting to Kishor’s remarks, RJD’s chief state spokesperson Bhai Virendra said Nitish Kumar joining the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance was an act of betrayal. “The JD(U) national vice-president’s statement is tantamount to admitting what has been our charge,” said Virendra. “Nitish had got the mandate as a candidate of the Grand Alliance, which comprised the RJD as well as the Congress, and his act of crossing over to the NDA without seeking a fresh mandate was tantamount to stabbing the ‘mahagathbandhan’ in the back.”