Bihar: Amid speculations of Grand Alliance leading, Nitish leads offensive against Modi

Amid speculations in a section of media that the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) is maintaining a lead over BJP-led NDA by the end of two phases of the ongoing Bihar polls, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar led an offensive attack against Narendra Modi at his home turf on the ground of Punpun High School, 22 kms from the state capital, Patna.

Punpun (Phulwari Sharif), October 20, 2015: Amid speculations in a section of media that the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) is maintaining a lead over BJP-led NDA by the end of two phases of the ongoing Bihar polls, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar led an offensive attack against Narendra Modi at his home turf on the ground of Punpun High School, 22 kms from the state capital, Patna.

Addressing a rally held on the bank of river Punpun on Monday, Nitish Kumar, the chief ministerial candidate of the Grand Alliance, counted the failures of Modi Government.

Prominent among them were price-rise, draught, black money, his DNA remarks, failure of the so-called Gujarat model and the worsening law and order situation in Delhi and BJP-ruled states such as Gujarat.

Taking a dig at Modi for backtracking on his electoral promises to bring black money home within 100 days, Nitish said that no amount had been transferred to people’s account even after seventeen months of his Government.

The intention (niyyat) of the BJP was not good (theek). Now they are evading the responsibility of bringing back the black money, said Nitish.

‘Unlike them [Modi and the BJP], what we say we do it with a firm determination (mazbooti),’ added Nitish Kumar.

While Modi’s promise of transferring the amount of black money to people’s account paid rich dividends to the BJP in the previous Lok Sabha elections, the same issue is now being used by non-BJP parties to bolster people’s discontent against the BJP.

Besides, Modi drew flak from Nitish for the failure of the central government to provide relief to 200 draught-hit districts. He alleged that the Modi Government, instead of being concerned about draught, was only worried about winning Bihar elections.

Nitish felt confident that irrespective of what the BJP and its ministers and leaders might do, the BJP would not win in Bihar.

BJP ki dal galne wali nahin hai’, said Nitish. Nitish used the local idiom of dal nahin galegi which means that one would not succeed despite making all kinds of efforts.

From idiomatic use of the expression of dal naheen galay gee, Nitish took up the issue of the sharp increase in the prices of dal (pulses) to hit the Modi Government.

Mentioning that the prices of dal had shot to  Rs. 200 a kg during Modi regime, Nitish said, ‘people are somehow surviving (guzara) with bhaat-tarkari (rice and vegetables) and mad bhat.’

Responding to Modi and BJP leaders’ oft-repeated remarks of “juggle raj” that aimed at taking potshots at both the previous Lalu regime and the current Nitish-Lalu alliance, Nitish said that the crime graph was much higher in Delhi, whose law and order was at the hands of the Union Home Ministry and in other BJP-ruled states such as Gujarat.

Moreover, Nitish alleged Modi was dishing out selective facts. When Modi was in Bihar he took up the issue of a murder in Patna but he never spoke about the law and order situation in Delhi, Gujarat and other BJP-ruled states.

‘What is the situation (haal) in Delhi, he asked Modi. He also mentioned the postponement of the local body elections in Gujarat due to law and order problem.

From this, Nitish went on to reject the Gujarat model which only makes the rich richer. He mentioned one of the fallouts of the Gujarat model: the number of malnourished women was higher in Gujarat than 22 major states in India. ‘Curse (lanat) on such development, where women are suffering from anemia’, said Nitish.

From criticising the Gujarat model of development, he moved to contrast it with the Bihar model, which, he said, was focused on the welfare of people.

To substantiate his claim, he showcased some of the achievements of his Government such as Bihar being the fastest growing state in India and improvements in basic facilities such as roads, electricity and education.

While he accepted that a lot was still needed to be done in Bihar, Nitish unveiled his major agendas before people such as 35% reservation for women in government jobs, four lakh credit cards for students, skill development for youth, electrification of every village by December, 2016, and building pucca roads and alleys and drainage.

‘If you give me an opportunity (mauqa), I will make smart villages. No one will then care to cast a glimpse at [Modi’s] smart cities.’

Before winding up his speech, Nitish did not miss to touch upon his Bihari identity. ‘Bihar will be run by a Bihari and I am a theth (pure/original) Bihari, asserted Nitish hinting at the “outsiders” (bahaari) who were running the BJP show in Bihar.

(First published in Milli Gazette)

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