Nursing the “humiliation” he faced at the hands of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2010 and ignoring the serial blasts on Sunday, BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi appealed to the people of Bihar to take revenge on the JD-U, the erstwhile NDA partner, for “betrayal”.
On Congress’ objection to Rahul Gandhi being referred to as ‘shehzada’, Modi stressed that he would stop using the term ‘prince’ for the Congress vice-president if the ruling party gave up dynastic politics. Modi also exhorted Hindus as well as Muslims to fight poverty and not among themselves.
Modi launched his hour-long speech by attacking Nitish for ditching the BJP. “People asked me why your friend (Nitish) ditched you? I told them if a person can desert JP (referring to veteran socialist the late Jaya Prakash Narayan), why can’t he desert the BJP,” said Modi, addressing the party’s biggest-ever political gathering here.
He took a dig at the JD-U strongman for warming up to the Congress despite claiming to be a socialist leader and a disciple of JP.
Modi emphasised that his party sacrificed the chief minister’s post to promote Nitish even though the BJP had double the number of MLAs compared to erstwhile Samata Party in March 2000. “The BJP sacrificed the chance of Sushil Modi becoming the chief minister in favour of my friend (Nitish) for the sake of clearing jungle raj in Bihar,” Modi said, adding that Nitish, however, could not remain at the helm for more than a week.
He also said that he has lived with the “humiliation” for the sake of unity in NDA. “Despite several requests from Sushil Modi and others, I kept away from poll campaign in Bihar for the sake of unity in NDA and to ensure that jungle raj did not stage a comeback,” he said.
Continuing his no-holds-barred attack on his Bihar counterpart, Modi also cited an incident to mock Nitish. “At a dinner hosted by the prime minister, Nitish and I were seated together. I was surprised to find that the Bihar chief minister was not eating. So I said ‘you can have your food as there is no camera around to click us having food together’,” he said, and hastened to add, “there is a limit to hypocrisy.”
In an attempt to win the sympathy of Yadavs in the state, he recalled that the jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad never missed an opportunity to abuse him. “But when Lalu met with an accident, I made a phone call to enquire after his well-being. That is our culture,” he said.
He also addressed the gathering in Bhojpuri, Maghi and Maithili in his attempt to connect with the people of the state which sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha.