Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today extended full support to his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar's bid for another shot at power as the two leaders attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for announcing a Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for the election-bound state.
Sharing a public platform for the first time, the two also made a common cause over special category status for Bihar and full statehood for Delhi.
Kejriwal also agreed to visit Bihar at Kumar's invitation, hailing him for his "committment" to fighting corruption when the two Chief Ministers came together at a function to give away awards to people of Bihar and Poorvanchal (eastern Uttar Pradesh) living in Delhi, who have made significant contributions in various fields.
Kejriwal, whose party AAP has decided not to contest Bihar elections, asked the migrant population from the state to ensure the victory of Kumar's party JD(U) in the assembly elections in the same manner in which they helped catapult his own party to power in Delhi where it won 67 of the 70 assembly seats.
Attacking the Prime Minister over his announcement of a whopping Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for Bihar, both questioned whether Modi was trying to "buy out" Bihari voters and accused him of "insulting" them.
Citing a number of poll promises made by Modi in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Kejriwal asked how will people of Bihar believe he will give the state so much money.
Maintaining that AAP's Delhi triumph reflected the mood of the nation, Kumar claimed it will be reflected in Bihar as well.
Both Kumar and Kejriwal repeatedly attacked Modi for his DNA barb, saying people have rejected "politics of innuendos" as they invoked the "pride" of Bihar and its cultural heritage.
Accusing Modi of "weakening" the AAP government's efforts to fight corruption in Delhi by "sending paramilitary forces to capture" the Anti Corruption Branch, Kejriwal contrasted it with Kumar's initiative for settting up an RTI call centre in his state and replenshing the Delhi ACB with officers from Bihar at his request.
"Both incidents are before you. One Chief Minister immediately sent honest officers to strengthen our ACB, while Modi government sent paramilitary forces to capture it. You have to decide who has the commitment to fight corruption. While one seeks to strengthen the ACB, the other weakens it," he said and asked the migrants from Bihar to tell their kin about it.
"I am fully confident that as history was created in Delhi, so it will be done in Bihar," Kejriwal said.
Hailing Kejriwal's victory, Kumar said the AAP leader got the massive mandate at a time when the BJP's "most acceptable and tallest leader" Modi had said "Delhi's mood was the mood of the nation".
"People of Delhi made it clear what was their mood. But still he is trying in Bihar. And what kind of statements he is making. He says the DNA is wrong. He (Modi) is going there and challenging our DNA. He is calling us BIMARU.
"Sometimes he calls us BIMARU and sometimes he questions our DNA. People of Bihar are now sending samples of their hair asking him to check their DNA. We are being insulted," Kumar said repeatedly invoking 'Bihari pride' and listing out his government's performance on various indices of development.
Contending that Modi government was not friendly with non-BJP states, Kumar said the AAP dispensation in Delhi was not being allowed to work despite getting such a massive mandate and attempts are on to make it "dysfunctional".
Kumar wondered how could a duly elected government in Delhi not be allowed to appoint even its Chief Secretary or have honest officers to fight corruption.
The Bihar Chief Minister said his party JD(U) fully backed AAP's demand for full statehood to Delhi, while Bihar fought for special status.
"Our view is give Delhi full statehood and Bihar the special category status. It is the demand of each and every Bihari, whether living in Delhi or Bihar, that Delhi should get full statehood and Bihar the special status," he said offering to work with Kejriwal on these issues together.
Asserting that people like him and Kejriwal had to deliver while "others manage only by talking", Kumar questioned whether the promise of Rs 1.25 lakh crore package made by the Prime Minister was backed by budgetary support or not.
"People ask what will Arvind Kejriwal do in Bihar. What else will we do? We will help each other as much as we can. I am always ready to help Arvind ji," Kumar said vouching for his party's support to the demand for full statehood to Delhi.
Kumar and Kejriwal had met a number of times in last two months in Delhi but there was no clarity on whether they would also share a public platform given the Delhi Chief Minister's reservations against his Bihar counterpart's ties with RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Kumar's JD(U) and Prasad's RJD are fighting the Assembly polls in Bihar as part of a 'Grand' secular alliance, also comprising Congress.
Kumar today invited Kejriwal to visit Bihar and address an event on public service delivery which Kejriwal accepted.
"Modi should tell whether he will give this money after winning the polls or losing it. He is not going to give either way. Not to speak of Rs 1.25 lakh crore, he will not give them even Rs 1.25," Kejriwal said.
Kumar took serious exception to the manner in which Modi made the announcement and wondered whether he thought Bihar was being put to "auction".
Facing one of the toughest electoral battles in his political career, Kumar had reached out to migrants from the state in the national capital on August 8 at a similar porgramme organised by Bihar Foundation but Kejriwal, who was invited for the function had not turned up.
Kumar had presided over a Bihar Samman Conference in Burari in Delhi in 2012. He had also addressed a rally here in 2013 seeking special status for Bihar during which he had said that if people from Bihar and Purvanchal stopped working, Delhi will stop functioning, remarks which he repeated even today.
Recalling the contribution of voters from eastern India (mainly Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) in the victory of Aam Aadmi Party, Kejriwal agreed with Kumar's contention that Delhi will stop if Biharis stop working even for a day.
Kumar also honoured 11 MLAs of Delhi from Bihar and Poorvanchal region on the occassion.
A large number of people from Bihar stay in metros, who go back to the state during important festivals like Chhath and Diwali. There is a significant population of migrants still enrolled as voters in Bihar.
Crediting the migrants for his resounding victory, the Delhi Chief Minister said they made the biggest contribution. "People from Bihar strongly backed AAP. They strongly backed the politics of honesty."
Recalling that he had requested many Chief Ministers to send him honest police officers for Delhi's ACB, he said while others did not respond, the Bihar Chief Minister did it immediately and people of Delhi are indebted to Kumar for this help.
Targeting Modi over his DNA barb in Bihar, Kejriwal said," I was sad to hear the Prime Minister say that the DNA of Bihar is bad. Some months back, the Prime Minister had called me a naxal. People of the country have rejected the politics of innuendo. To say that the DNA of people of Bihar is bad is wrong politics.
"During Delhi polls, they had said that the gotra of Kejriwal is problematic. This was followed by the entire Agrawal community, which otherwise votes for the BJP, turning against Bihar. Many a time you do not need to do anything. They are themselves to working for their defeat. Like the incidents, which had happened during Delhi polls, similar things are happening in Bihar as well," Kejriwal said.