Written off by all opinion polls, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar chose to address his last election rally at Vaishali — “the mother of Republics” — and played up the Bihar development card. He also said this election would be remembered for two reasons — unprecedented display of money power and low-level personal attacks.
Addressing a small gathering at Chak Gulamuddin village under Belsar block, Nitish said: “Earlier, we used the phrase, paani ki taraf paise bahana. But the scale of money spent by BJP will now lead to a new phrase: ‘Money was spent like what BJP spent in 2014 elections’. Although industrialists have been helping political parties in past elections, a few industrialists are investing in this poll and they will seek returns if BJP comes to power.”
He regretted that some BJP leaders had started predicting the date of his government’s fall. “I wonder how they can bring political discourse to such abysmal level. But let me make it clear, when there is no guarantee to life, who bothers about chair. Zindagi aur kuchh nahi maut ki amanat hai,” said Nitish, who kept saying during his poll campaign that BJP would try to topple the JD(U) government if it comes to power at Centre. He said people needed to give him strength — read seats — so he can continue to press for Bihar’s demand for special category status.
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Nitish, who has fielded Vijay Kumar Sahni, an EBC leader, opposite RJD’s heavyweight Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, also attacked RJD chief Lalu Prasad for claiming to “stop someone (Narendra Modi)”.
“Woh vote ke baazigar hain. Logon ko dara kar vote lena chahte hain (Lalu is tricking people into giving him votes. He wants votes by instilling fear (of Modi). What did Laluji do in 15 years of RJD rule? He has no vision of development.”
He said JD(U) is the only party that stuck to development theme. “BJP would not talk about the economic policy it has in mind. It talks only about a strong government, which does not come with military power, but with the power of unity of people in this land of diversity,” he said. He questioned how one BJP leader (C P Thakur) could talk of doing away with reservation for Dalits while another (Giriraj Singh) could ask those opposing Modi to go to Pakistan.
He talked of his government’s bicycle and uniform scheme and school enrollment record in the past five years. He also spoke of how his government ensured 2,400 MW power to Bihar and promised to take it to 4,000 MW by 2015 end. “Itne teer chalaiye ki lantern bujh jaye. Jab bijli hai toh lantern ki kya zaroorat? Sara kuda, kachra aur kichad saaf kar dijiye. Kichad hi nahi rahega toh kamal kaise khilega,” said Nitish, referring to the RJD and BJP party symbols.
Before Nitish arrived at the venue, several young voters were heard chanting “Abki bar Modi sarkar”. Vijay Kumar, a shop owner at Guraul, said: “It is about choosing PM, not CM. There is nothing wrong with Nitish but we have to support Modi to have a strong government at Centre. We will vote for him in Assembly elections.” Other youths said they had come to see only the helicopter.