Expelled JDU leader Pavan Varma spilled more details from what he said were his private conversations with Bihar CM and party chief Nitish Kumar, while appearing on the primetime edition of The Debate with Arnab Goswami on Wednesday.
Debating with JDU leader Ajay Alok who had earlier in the day referred to both him and fellow expelled JDU leader Prashant Kishor as 'Coronaviruses', Pavan Varma refused to get drawn into namecalling and insinuations, upholding his own erstwhile relationship with Nitish Kumar, and standing firm on his initial assertion regarding seeking ideological clarity from the Bihar CM over the JDU's deepening relationship with the BJP.
As part of this, Pavan Varma at one point revealed that Nitish had at one point doubted the BJP to such an extent that he was seriously considering tying up with a party that had an opposite ideology.
"I joined the party in Jan 2013, after several long conversations with Nitish about the party's ideology," Varma recalled. He narrated having visited Patna and having held a long conversation with Nitish Kumar about the latter's reservations about Narendra Modi and "what he has against Modi emerging as a leader of the BJP."
"Subsequently, on the basis of ideology, I stood with Nitish Kumar when he broke away from BJP, when he was wiped out in the Lok Sabha elections when we won just 2 seats, when he resigned from Chief Minister-ship, when he decided to form a coalition against BJP in continuation of his ideology of opposing Narendra Modi. I stood with him through thick and thin."
"Even after he joined BJP in 2017, he and I - perhaps Ajay was not a part of these discussions - we had long discussions about where the BJP is going and where our stand should be. In fact, at that time I can share with you that at one point Nitish was very seriously pursuing the possibility of JDU breaking with BJP and merging with another party opposed to BJP, but I don't need to elaborate on that," he revealed.
When pressed for an answer, Pavan Varma revealed, "It's already partly in public domain, so I can say that the merger was to be with the Congress party, and it was at a very advanced stage of negotiation."
Earlier in the day, in one fell swoop, the JDU had expelled both Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma. Both had spoken out against the party over the CAA, albeit separately.