Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Sunday took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Swabhimaan (self-respect) rally here, albeit in contrasting styles.
The former, whose manner was more serious, accused Modi of spreading falsehood about Bihar’s crime records and branding it as a ‘Jungle Raaj’ (lawless state).
Addressing the rally, which was the first show of strength by the grand alliance of the JD(U), RJD and Congress in the poll-bound state and saw around 3 lakh people, Kumar said it was unbecoming of a PM spreading lies about a state that had got carried away during last year’s Lok Sabha election and helped him (Modi) come to power.
The BJP-led NDA swept Bihar in the last general election. Kumar, whose JD(U) pulled out of the NDA in 2013, said the PM cited crime figures earlier this month to project Bihar as a ‘Jungle Raaj’ but the facts are “diametrically opposite”. He, instead, showed the crime figures of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra to say that Bihar ranked 22 in the list.
He said in terms of crime against women, too, Bihar’s rank was 26, way behind Modi’s home state Gujarat.
Kumar, who was flanked by leaders from the RJD, Congress and Samajwadi Party, which was represented by Shivpal Singh Yadav, also took on Modi over his remarks over his DNA. “The PM says there is something wrong with my DNA. Let me tell him that I am a son of a freedom fighter. These RSS and BJP leaders, who played no role in the freedom movement, should therefore, desist from making such snide remarks,” he said, before asking the huge gathering to maintain communal harmony in the state at all cost.
Speaking on Modi’s special package, Kumar said, “Out of Rs 1,25,000 crore announced by the PM, only Rs 10,368 crore constitute an incremental change. The rest of the figure is as good as fake currency.”
Lalu attacks Modi
Prasad’s take on Modi had its share of humour. Stressing that prices of gold and silver came down under the Modi regime while those of onions and pulses skyrocketed, the former CM asked the gathering “Bhaiyon aur beheno, mehngai kam hui?” (brothers and sisters, has inflation gone down?), imitating the PM. To this, the crowd roared: “Nahi” (no).
Asking the Yadavs to remain united, Lalu said: “Modi is using the CBI to get my bail cancelled. Let him do so and see the consequences in the poll result.” He also took on BJP president Amit Shah, asking whether the BJP challenged the court decision which exonerated Shah in a fake encounter case. Praising Nitish for making a Mushahar’s (a community) son as Bihar’s first Mahadalit CM, Lalu said: “Jitan Ram Manjhi was served food at Nitish’s house but he preferred to join BJP’s party.” Prasad also appealed the Mahadalits to stand by Kumar, who he called his “younger brother”.