Modi tears into Nitish, calls him opportunist, backstabber

PATNA, Oct 27:  Unfazed by serial blasts at his rally, Narendra Modi today tore into bete noire Nitish Kumar on his home turf, saying he was an “opportunist” who had “betrayed and backstabbed” Jaiprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and also people of Bihar for Prime Ministerial dreams.

Visiting Bihar for the first time from where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar kept him away during the period of their alliance, the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate repeatedly attacked Nitish for snapping of JD(U)-BJP ties in June. He alleged that Nitish was playing hide and seek with Congress, against whom his mentors JP and Lohia fought all their lives, and was dreaming of becoming the Prime Minister.

“One who shunned Jaiprakash, why can’t he leave BJP. He fought all his life to free the nation from the Congress and the one who claims to be Lohia’s disciple has stabbed him in his back and is now playing hide and seek with Congress. Whether his followers will forgive him or not, the souls of Lohia and JP will never forgive his deeds,” Modi said addressing a mammoth public meeting here at the Gandhi Maidan.

Just minutes before he spoke, six serial bomb blasts rocked the venue of the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate’s rally, leaving at least five dead and 66 injured. Modi did not refer to the blasts in his speech but appealed to his followers to reach home safety.

Without taking Nitish’s name and referring to him derisively as “friend”, the Gujarat Chief Minister attacked Nitish for not allowing him to campaign in Bihar in the last assembly polls and said he had accepted the “humiliation” for the sake of not allowing “Jungle Raj” in Bihar again.

Modi vowed to oust JD(U) which had quit NDA opposing his elevation as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate.

In his over 40-minute speech, Modi started with Bhojpuri and intermittently used Maithli and Magehi – the three main dialects of the state.

Taking a jibe at the Bihar Chief Minister, Modi cited an instance where he and Nitish were sharing a table at a lucheon by the Prime Minister during a meeting of Chief Ministes in Delhi and Nitish was “not eating and was uncomfortable and kept looking around”.

“I understood the matter and told him, there are no cameras around. You can have your food….There is a limit to hypocracy,” he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister attacked the Congress saying it was misguiding people in the name of secularism and pitched for Hindu-Muslim unity for the development of the nation, saying neither of them wanted to fight each other and need to together fight poverty instead.

Responding to Congress’ objections to his addressing Rahul as “Shehzada”, Modi said he will stop doing so if Congress promises to shun dynastic politics. He, however, did not attack him today and directed all his energies to slam Nitish.

“Our Congress friends are very upset these days. They are losing their sleep and are restless and having objections to why I am addressing Rahul as ‘Shehzada’. Just as you feel bad when I say ‘Shehzada’, the nation also feels bad about dynastic politics. If Congress promises to shun dynastic politics, I will also stop calling ‘Shehzada’,” he said.

Invoking Jaiprakash Narayan who he said fought for democracy all his life and chose to stay in jail forever for its sake, the Gujarat Chief Minister said democracy in the country today is faced with four enemies – dynastic politics, casteism, communal politics and opportunism.

“It is the country’s misfortune that all these four enemies of democracy are at play in both Bihar’s politics as well as in UPA regime,” he said.

Recalling that just as Mahatma Gandhi had given the “oust British” call from Champaran in Bihar, he called upon people of the state to take a pledge to oust the Congress from the country and JD-U from Bihar.

He targeted UPA on issues of poor development, corruption, price rise, security and poverty.

“The country wants a change…Mudslinging is being done from all over. But I tell you, the more mudslinging you do, the more this lotus (of BJP) will bloom,” he said, accusing the Congress of not fulfilling all its promises.

Continuing his attack on Nitish, he said, “His ideas are not good. On the advice of his sycophants, who told him to join hands with Congress as there was chance of his becoming Prime Minister, he started dreaming.”

“Nitish has not only betrayed BJP, but also the people of Bihar. This is a betrayal with you, is it not?” Modi posed before the public, who responded with a resounding ‘yes’.

Modi said his party sacrificed the chief minister’s post despite having double the number of MLAs compared to Kumar’s Samata Party in 1999 and accepted his leadership.

“BJP sacrificed the chance of Sushil Kumar Modi becoming the CM in favour of my friend (Nitish Kumar) for the sake of clearing jungle raj from Bihar,” he said.

The BJP leader also blamed Congress for committing the “sin” of price rise, that compounded the miseries of people reeling under food inflation and said the Planning Commission has come up with a report stating that a person could have two square meals a day for Rs 26.

“Can you get two square meal a day for Rs 26?” he asked, and said not even a couple of cups of tea could be bought.

Stressing on his poor background, Modi said, “The people of the ruling dispensation don’t know what poverty is all about…But I know…I have been born in a poor family, seen and lived in poverty…I have sold tea at the railway station and in trains…Those selling tea in trains know more about problems in railways than the minister,” he said. (PTI)



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