The problems between Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi started with cacophemism and name-calling of the highest order. At the recent conference in Gaya, Narendra Modi stated that his party would develop Bihar in 5 years and get rid of the Bimaru tag. He pointed out how BJP had been able to accomplish the same in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Incidentally, Bimaru stands for Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, which were traditionally regarded as the most-underdeveloped states in India. During the speech he also stated that this time around BJP will definitely form the government in Bihar. In case of the two states, which Modi describes as having developed properly, BJP is in the seat of power.
Allegations of broken promises
In his speech, Modi pointed out how the present state government had stated that it would not ask for votes if it failed to provide electricity to all the people. In spite of being unable to honour that commitment, as the Indian Prime Minister stated, Janata Dal were asking for votes. He indicated that the per capita power consumption in Bihar – 150 kilowatt per year – was much less than the national average of 1000 kilowatt per year. He pointed out that even Jharkhand, the neighbouring state, was far better off in this comparison and its electricity consumption is almost 750 kilowatt per year.
Modi has stated that education is also one of the major problems in Bihar. As many as 4-5 lakh students of Bihar are receiving technical education outside the state and if one assumes that they are spending INR 1 lakh per year then the state is missing out on income of INR 5000 crore in a year. He has stated that his party will counter the out-migration by building high-level educational establishments in the state. He rattled off numbers to substantiate his claim saying that at present the state has 80 lakh people between the age group of 17-20 years. He stated that their skills needed to be developed by way of technical education. However, Bihar (25,000 seats in engineering) is worse off than Odisha (1.13 lakh), Uttarakhand (40,000), and Punjab (1.04 lakh). Incidentally, the last two are small states. Modi stated that the arrogance of the government has contrived to deceive people in the state in the last 25 years.
Modi has termed the present situation in Bihar to be similar to living in a jungle. He has stated quite emphatically if this is allowed to continue then things will only fall apart. He also hinted about the incarceration of Lalu Prasad, the head of Rashtriya Janata Dal, for the fodder scam during the speech. He also did not spare Nitish Kumar and placed him in the same bracket saying that the incessant corruption, caste-related issues, and absence of law that marked Bihar in the Lalu-Rabri era had made their way in the reign of Nitish Kumar as well.
Modi also poked fun at the entities looking to bring back Nitish Kumar. In recent times, the dominant theme of Nitish’s rule has been Badhta Bihar (developing Bihar). Recently the Bihar CM had posted on Facebook that he was like a sandalwood (chandan) tree, which would not be poisoned because a snake was circling it. This was perhaps an allusion to his possible association with Lalu Prasad. During his speech, Modi referred to that as well, calling Nitish Chandan Kumar and Lalu Bhujang Prasad. In Hindi, bhujang means snake.
The former CM of Gujarat stated quite emphatically that he did not know who was serving the poison and who was drinking it. He was just bothered by the possibility that together both of them would make the atmosphere in the state a poisonous one. He continued saying that if and when they come to power, they will spit the venom out and the common people will have no choice but to consume the same.
In July, Modi had stated that RJD stood for Rozana Jungle Raj Ka Dar and termed Janata Dal (United) as Janata ka Daman and Utpeedan Party, which meant that the latter was well known for exploiting and repressing people. In some circles, it is being said that Modi may have hurt his party by going after the CM. However, it is also being said that the huge attendance at Gaya showed that they enjoyed significant support in the eastern Indian state. Incidentally, Kumar had stated that the fact that Modi had attacked his DNA was an insult to the state itself but evidently this did not have the desired results.
Unity of NDA
During his speech, Modi attempted to rally the local youth by talking about the poor condition of Bodh Gaya, which he said was held in high esteem by both Buddhists and Hindus. He questioned why the region was lacking in opportunities especially in the educational domain. Recently, a BJP activist was murdered in Patna and this also drew the ire of the prime minister who asked the common people if they want a rerun of the same event.
It was also attended by the allies of BJP such as Ram Vilas Paswan of Lok Janashakti Party, former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi of Hindustani Awam Morcha (secular), and Upendra Kushwaha from Lok Samata Party. JD(U) MLAs such as Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo, Rajib Ranjan, Rahul Sharma, and Anil Kumar – presently at loggerheads with their party – also attended the event.
In his speech, Amit Shah, the BJP President, stated that it was on 9 August that Mahatma Gandhi had issued the call ‘Quit India’ to the British. He stated that the people of Bihar should do the same with the present government. On 27 July the caste census report was supposed to be released and on that date Lalu Prasad has called for a bandh that saw significant vandalism. Shah stated that this only showed the pitiable state that Bihar was in.
Meanwhile, the Bihar CM has not taken all the invectives hurled at him silently. He has also stated that BJP stands for Badka Jhootha Party. In an open letter to the PM he has also stated that Bihar and himself are not synonymous. It also needs to be remembered that a few days back he had attacked the national government on the connection between Sushma Swaraj and Lalit Modi.
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