You could say that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav, and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, share a love-hate relationship. Their political enmity is now decades old and they love to troll each other. And, all the bantering provides much needed comic relief amid the very serious business of power and politics.
On Saturday, after Yogi Adityanath's ascendancy to the Uttar Pradesh chief ministerial chair was announced, the opportunity to troll Lalu was too hard to resist for Sushil Modi.
Modi tweeted that Lalu must be so upset with the news that he is still trying to figure what abuses to shower upon the BJP. Happy to take the bait, Lalu responded with advice to Sushil Kumar on how to dress up.
"Wear a saffron robe, pierce your ears and shave your head to look like Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath so that some good happens to you too," Lalu tweeted.
Followed by this tail-end 'burn' zinger at the end, served a spoon-full of salt: "Don't be so sad, these people didn't even call you for the swearing-in ceremony."
This isn't the first time that Lalu and Modi shared a Twitter moment.
Earlier this month, after BJP's thumping win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Assembly elections, Modi decided to rib his political rival.
"How're you doing?" Modi, Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister in 2005 after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power, asked Lalu on Twitter.
Lalu promptly fired back, "I'm alright. The BJP seems to have benefited from not allowing you to enter UP."
In times of crisis and joy, both seasoned veterans have been each others favourite punching bag.
Between 2005 and 2013, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi had together formed the Bihar government and were the chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively. But the entry of the other Modi, Narendra, soured their relationship.
That is when the wily Lalu smelled opportunity. In 2013, when Narendra Modi was chosen as BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Nitish Kumar took his party out of the NDA. Nitish found a new ally in his onetime rival Lalu. And, since then Sushil Modi and Lalu have been at loggerheads.
Last year, Lalu, who was once India's Railway Minister, sent out a tweet claiming that the Indian Railways was rapidly slipping into a "financial morass" and a "debt trap". Modi promptly came to the Prime Minister's defense.
The exchange kept getting interesting:
@SushilModi What a rubbish logic! Do u kw wat happens when u don't milk a Cow?..cow falls sick..& this is wat happening now..समझे की नही
— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) November 18, 2016
This is when Sushil Kumar Modi opened a new flank — it was Lalu's foe-turned-friend Nitish Kumar who had handled the portfolio before him.
Last year, in a dig at the Bihar government, Sushil Modi called Lalu "Super CM", claiming that he weilded the remote-control.
"The manner in which the RJD supremo counselled the Chief Minister on taking measures to check the deterioration in the law and order situation has left no one in doubt that he is the Super CM of the state," Modi had said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Lalu's son has joined the fight. Earlier this month, Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav accused Sushil Kumar Modi of targeting him in the Bihar legislative council because the BJP leader's son was not a minister.
Prior to that, a verbal war had broken out in the legislature over Tej Pratap's absence from the Council when questions were listed for the health department. Leader of the Opposition in the Council, Sushil Modi, then took a swipe at the health minister, saying he was playing the flute, dressed up as Lord Krishna, and making jalebis at home. The next day, Tej Pratap responded, "Sushil Modi has become restless because his son could not become minister and because of being restless he keeps on attacking me."
Clearly, the Yadav-Modi fight is not going to end anytime soon.
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