PATNA: Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a frontal attack on his bete noire Nitish Kumar on his home turf, calling the Bihar Chief Minister an opportunist and hypocrite who “betrayed and backstabbed” socialist stalwarts like Jaiprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia.
Visiting Bihar for the first time after Nitish kept him away from poll campaign during the period of the BJP-JD(U) alliance, the BJP prime ministerial candidate repeatedly attacked him for snapping of the ties that lasted 17 years. Modi 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.
JP, the tallest of Indian socialists, had spearheaded the anti-Emergency movement that culminated in the fall of Indira Gandhi government and installation of the first non-Congress dispensation at the Centre under Morarji Desai in 1977.
Just minutes before Modi spoke, six serial bomb blasts rocked the venue of the Gujarat Chief Minister’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 safely.
Without taking Nitish’s name and referring to him derisively as “friend,” Modi attacked him 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 interspersed it with 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 luncheon by the Prime Minister during a meeting of chief ministers 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 hypocrisy,” he said.
Modi also 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.