Hours after they shared the stage in Patna, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an all-out offensive against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday. Setting the tone for the assembly elections, Modi played the development card as he announced a special package and some schemes for Bihar.
Addressing a rally here, he accused Nitish of practising “political untouchability”. Modi recalled how the CM had cancelled a dinner for BJP leaders in 2010 because of him. “I also drank the poison the day my plate was snatched… Have you seen such level of hatred in politics? He did not want me to campaign in Bihar… Now, he has complained that I am visiting Bihar after 14 months. I can understand how he would have passed each day waiting for me. I wonder how time changes,” said Modi.
“I can understand that you may not like one person, you may not like his face. There can be political rivalry. But if you were so much against me, you could have slapped me or strangulated me in a room… But, just for one person, you strangulated the progress of Bihar. Is this how democracy functions? I am pained, not because of what you did to me, but for what you did for the people of Bihar,” said Modi.
Seeking to play the Dalit card, he said Nitish had practised “political untouchability” not only against him but also a “Mahadalit” — former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. He said even George Fernandes and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi were not treated well by him. “There seems to be some problem in his DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy, you give respect even to your political rivals,” said Modi.
Stating that the RJD stands for “Roj Jungleraj ka Dar”, he said Lalu had joined forces with Nitish “out of compulsion in his bid to settle his children”. “Lalu and Nitish should sit together to decide who is the snake and who is the poison. Why is Lalu forcing Yaduvanshis to drink poison?” he said.
The PM announced a special package for Bihar and launched a host of schemes, including mega projects like the Haldia-Jagdishpur gas pipeline, Deen Dayal rural electrification scheme, Patna-Gaya Dobhi four-lane, and IIT campus at Patna.
“I do not forget promises… I had promised Rs 50,000 cr special package, but Bihar will get more. My lips are sealed because Parliament session is on. Bihar will also get benefits of 15 per cent investment allowance and 15 per cent depreciation allowance — which the special category status provides,” he said.
Seeking a two-third mandate for NDA in Bihar, he said: “You have given a chance to every model of governance, now give us a chance. We need a non-confronting government at the Centre and in Bihar… You have given us one engine by giving us the central government, give us another engine by giving Bihar.”
LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan, former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha were among those present at the rally.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines