'Snollygoster': Tharoor takes dig at Nitish Kumar after alliance-switch

Kumar on Sunday resigned as the chief minister of Bihar and quit the opposition bloc INDIA, and staked claim to form a new government with the BJP, which he had dumped less than 18 months ago

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar


Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday took a swipe at JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar over his latest volte-face in Bihar, posting what he said was "the word of the day" snollygoster, which means a shrewd and unprincipled politician.

Kumar on Sunday resigned as the Chief Minister of Bihar, saying "things were not working well" for him in the Mahagathbandhan or the grand alliance and the opposition bloc INDIA, and staked claim to form a new government with the BJP, which he had dumped less than 18 months ago.

Tharoor shared his social media post from 2017 when Kumar had broken away from the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and returned to the BJP despite being foes for a long time.

"Word of the day! Definition of snollygoster US dialect: a shrewd, unprincipled politician. First Known Use: 1845. Most recent use: 26/7/17," Tharoor had tweeted in 2017.

Tagging that post, the former Union minister said on Sunday in a post of X, " Didn't realise it would be the Word of Another Day too!#snollygoster." He, however, did not name Kumar.

The prolific author and man of letters, known for throwing obscure English words into the social media lexicon, has used snollygoster earlier as well.

In 2017, he had tweeted the word in an apparent reference to Kumar switching sides to the BJP. He did so again in 2019 when BJP's Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister of Maharashtra with Nationalist Congress Party's Ajit Pawar seemingly switching over to support a BJP-led government.

In November 2022, Tharoor took a swipe at party-hopping politicians in India by posting a video of a chameleon changing shades as it climbs a colour-banded pole and threw in the rarely used word snollygoster.

His sharp-witted jibe had then come in the backdrop of several politicians switching sides ahead of the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly polls.

The Congress on Sunday compared Kumar to a "chameleon", and said the people of the state will never forgive him for his "betrayal".

The party was reacting to Kumar's decision to resign as Bihar chief minister and leaving the Mahagathbandhan in the state and also dealing a body blow to the opposition bloc INDIA.

In another post, Tharoor also said, "Today's vocabulary lesson: sometimes, a swearing-in is accompanied by a lot of swearing-at."

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