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Bihar poll to have national implications, says Nitish Kumar, pitches for Oppn unity

In his first press interaction after the massive victory, Nitish said Bihar results reflected the mood of the nation and described it as a "milestone election".

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | Patna |
Updated: November 8, 2015 9:12:39 pm
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, center, is surrounded by media personnel as he greets supporters after victory in Bihar state elections in Patna. (Source: PTI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, center, is surrounded by media personnel as he greets supporters after victory in Bihar state elections in Patna. (Source: PTI)

This is a double act par excellence. This is good cop-bad cop. This is Penn and Teller, the loud one and the silent one, and they come together to create magic.

“I told you, this is a lethal combination,” said a Congress source on Sunday, still trying to come to terms with the windfall. Of course, the grand old party may well have played the magicians’ assistant part perfectly – the BJP suspects the Grand Alliance would not have taken away so many seats if it were not for the support of upper castes to the Congress and JDU – but that would be an analogy too far.

On Sunday evening, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar seemed to be projecting that they had a formula worked out: while the former takes on Narendra Modi, the latter would be left to rule Bihar in peace.

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At a press conference at the CM’s official residence on 7, Circular Road, Lalu did most of the talking. “Nitishji won’t tell you much, but you know I will be more open with things,” said Lalu. He talked of how during Dussehra and Muharram, there were attempts to carry out communal violence. “Biharis were alert. We were alert. All that the opposition tried failed,” he said. Earlier, both had addressed journalists at Prasad’s residence, two doors down.

It was as if Kumar, back to being statesman-like, wanted to put the election behind him as fast as possible while Prasad wanted to see it as a springboard. “It wouldn’t be appropriate of me to say that. That is your job,” said the CM when asked if his win was a birthday gift for L.K. Advani. A similar question during the campaign would almost always have produced a quotable barb. “Whatever happened during the campaign is the past. We now need to work together for the progress of Bihar,” said Kumar of his relationship with the Prime Minister.

Prasad, on the other hand, was in the mood to overcompensate: “He is the Prime Minister only in name. What he is really is an RSS Pracharak.” Lalu never elaborated on his role in the upcoming government but said he would start a mass movement against the Prime Minister, starting with a visit to his Lok Sabha constituency. “I will now the RSS and the BJP in Delhi….I will not compromise,” said Lalu.

Both mentioned the rise of intolerance in the country, adding that the voters had rejected a communal agenda. Kumar said that this election is one for the ages, a milestone. “This election is important in the national context. I saw it this morning when some news channels erroneously declared that we were losing. The sadness then and the joy later when we won was a sign of how much people across the country wanted us to win,” said Kumar.

 

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