With just two rounds of voting left in the five-phase Bihar assembly polls, BJP president Amit Shah said Thursday that if his party loses the elections “by mistake… crackers will be burst in Pakistan”.
Launching a frontal attack on the Nitish Kumar government at a rally in Raxaul on the border with Nepal — Shah spoke at five public meetings in Siwan, East Champaran and West Champaran Thursday — he said: “Agar BJP galti se bhi Bihar me haarti hai to jay-parajay to Bihar me hogi, pataake Pakistan me chhutenge (if BJP loses in Bihar by mistake, then victory-defeat will be in Bihar but crackers will be burst in Pakistan)”.
In local newspapers, BJP placed front-page advertisements targeting the Nitish government for being “soft on terrorists” and not taking strict action at the time of arrest of Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal.
Speaking in Raghunathpur (Siwan) earlier, Shah asked the crowd who did they think would be happiest if the JD(U) were to win. He then told them: “It is not Nitish, not Lalu but Mohammed Shahabuddin”. Former RJD MP Shahabuddin has been convicted in five cases and is currently in jail.
In Bagaha, Shah attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “Press the lotus (BJP) button so hard that its beep is heard in Rahul Gandhi’s maternal home in Italy,” he told a rally.
BJP state president Mangal Pandey, who was accompanying Shah, told The Indian Express: “There is nothing defeatist about Shah’s cracker remark. He said it in the right context, he was targeting Nitish for being soft on terror.”
Pandey said only the “Delhi media” was writing off the NDA. “The crowds coming to listen to our leaders are also voting for us. We are way ahead of our opponents,” he claimed.
In New Delhi, BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said: “This is not our desperation. The party president has just reminded facts that cannot be forgotten. Under the Mahagathbandhan, people like Shahabuddin will rule the state.” He alleged that despite being in jail, Shahabuddin had been “controlling the administration”.