The PM finally broke his extended silence on the unfortunate incident at Dadri when he addressed the people of Bihar during his fourth rally of the day in Nawada.
Narendra Modi made an impassioned plea to all sections appealing for communal harmony. He called on Hindus to fight poverty instead of Muslims and for Muslims to fight poverty instead of Hindus. While he did not specifically name Dadri, he made a broad appeal to all segments in society to maintain communal harmony and focus on development. He quoted President Pranab Mukherjee’s appeal for communal harmony and asked people to follow his advice.
What was notable was that he did not offer any specific regret over the Dadri incident but kept the message general and applicable to all. Also, it was strange that he did not speak on the issue during his first three speeches in the day but chose to finally open up in his last speech for the day at Nawada.
Speaking earlier in the day at Munger, Begusarai and Samastipur, Modi took on Lalu Prasad and his beef remark. He asked how Lalu could say that Yadhuvanshis ate beef. He also reacted to Lalu’s earlier explanation on saying that ‘Shaitan’ made him say it. Modi asked the people why ‘Shaitan’ had chosen only Lalu over crores of people worldwide. Lalu Prasad has since rebutted the PM, challenging him to prove that he made the ‘Shaitan’ remark or apologize.
He also hit out at Lalu’s and Nitish Kumar’s rule saying that very little development had been achieved in Bihar under their regime and it was time for the people to choose between ‘Jungle Raj’ and ‘Vikas Raj’.
He said it was time for the people of Bihar to reject the politics of jungle raj and vote the NDA to power for Bihar to truly prosper. He spoke of the special package that the centre had lined up for Bihar and also committed to revive the Barauni Fertilizer factory that would revive the local economy besides creating several new jobs. He also promised to initiate an agricultural revolution in Bihar saying that Bihar had a lot of potential but was wasted by previous regimes.
Latest Pre-Poll Surveys show up contrasting results
Three separate pre-poll surveys have revealed contrasting results and different from what was reported in surveys carried out in September. Apparently, the voter’s opinion has been shifting as is borne out by the results announced by different surveys.
The three surveys that announced their results yesterday are; CNN IBN Axis My India Pre-Poll survey, ITG-Cicero Pre-Poll survey and Times Now–Cvoter Pre Poll survey.
Both CNN Axis and ITG-Cicero point to the Grand Alliance getting a simple majority, while Times Now-Cvoter points to NDA having a slim lead over the Grand Alliance, with neither party touching the majority mark of 122.
CNN-Axis shows Grand Alliance winning between 129-145 seats with NDA getting 87-103 seats.
ITG-Cicero shows Grand Alliance winning 122 seats with NDA getting 111 seats.
Time Now- Axis shows the Grand Alliance winning 116 seats with NDA getting 119 seats.
But one thing that comes out is the strong preference for Nitish Kumar as a CM. He remains well ahead of the next possible choice that is Sushil Modi. But then BJP has indicated that someone from OBC/EBC will make the next CM, therefore, if BJP wins it may be forced to let go of Sushil Modi in lieu of maybe Jitan Manjhi, who is emerging as the better bet between him and Ram Vilas Paswan.
The caste trends are more or less on expected lines with women and youth, especially in urban areas, showing a preference for Narendra Modi.
Pre-Poll surveys are known to go horribly wrong as was seen during the 2014 General Elections and Delhi Assembly elections. Narendra Modi continues to be top draw in rallies and is attracting big crowds but whether they convert to votes is another question.
The trends indicate confidence in Nitish Kumar at the state level and Narendra Modi at the national level. But since this is a state election, the voter, especially the rural voter, may just remain loyal to traditional voting pattern based on caste. In that case, the Grand Alliance may have an edge. With elections being held in five stages, there is still time for both camps to push for a last minute voter swing.
Nitish Kumar trashes BJP’s ‘Scooty’ scheme for girls
Speaking at a public meeting at Sherghati in Gaya district, Nitish Kumar trashed Narendra Modi’s promise of giving 5000 ‘Scooty’ to meritorious girl students of class IX. He mocked Modi saying did they want girls of 13-14 years of age to end up in a police station for driving without a licence. He accused the BJP of imitating his scheme for bicycles, wherein 8.28 lakh bicycles had been given to boys and 8.16 lakh bicycles had been given to girls.
He asked how could these girls drive without a licence and how could they afford the cost of petrol. He spoke of how Modi had gone back on his promise to bring back black money and deposit Rs 15-20 lakh in every citizen’s account and questioned his ability to keep his promises.
BJP leaders approach EC to withdraw FIR against Amit Shah
Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu led a BJP delegation to meet the EC and request him to withdraw the FIR against party President Amit Shah. An FIR was filed in the first week of October against Shah for calling Lalu Prasad a ‘Chara Chor’. The delegation pointed out that he was merely quoting what the courts had adjudicated earlier. They said that the local EC office officials were acting under state government pressure and that the EC must set up an inquiry into this. They said that several leaders, including Lalu Prasad and Asaduddin Owaisi, had made hate speeches and no action had been taken.
However, in all fairness to the EC, it may be said here that the EC office has taken action against both Lalu Prasad and Owaisi and FIRs have been filed against both the leaders.