Invoking the massacres of Bhumihars and Dalits and the corruption scandals in Bihar under the RJD’s rule, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Thursday appealed to voters to not let the state “slide into the past”.
Campaigning in Jehanabad, all three top NDA leaders in Bihar – Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD(U), Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, and Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP linked the electoral success of their candidate, JD(U)’s Chandeshwar Chandravanshi, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reelection.
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Chandravanshi is contesting against RJD’s Surendra Yadav, who is banking on the Muslim-Yadav support, and the transfer of votes of the OBC Kushwaha, EBC Mallah, and scheduled caste Mushahar communities.
On Thursday, the NDA alliance partners dwelt upon the development under PM Modi and Nitish Kumar, and reminded voters about the massacres during RJD regime in south and central Bihar, in which either upper caste Bhumihars or scheduled caste people were killed.
Deputy CM Modi reminded the people of several massacres and asked if they wanted to let Bihar slide into the past. “Can one forget Laxmanpur-Bathe, Bara, Senari, Sankarbigha and Narayanpur massacres in this region? Lalu Prasad, then CM, did nothing to stop it. Rather, he patronised perpetrators from either side. During NDA rule in last 13 years, there has not been a single massacre.”
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He cautioned people against a return of the “gory phase”. “Bahut mushkil se laaye hai toofan se kishti nikal ke (We have taken Bihar out of misrule after great effort),” he said.
Paswan said Jayaprakash Narayan fought against corruption but it was an irony that one of his disciples, Lalu Prasad, was convicted in corruption cases. Seeking to blunt accusations by the opposition on NDA alleged tampering with reservation norms, Paswan said, “Koi mai ka lal aapka reservation nahi le sakta (No one can dare to take away your reservation).”
Paswan said the 10 per cent EWS quota was not at the expense of the existing quota, and was meant to bring social justice by taking the poor among upper castes into the reservation ambit.
Nitish Kumar also praised PM Modi for giving Bihar Rs 50,000 crore for infrastructural growth, taking firm action against terrorism, and enhancing the prestige of India in the world.
“I am confident of Narendra Modi returning as PM… There was rule of a family for 15 years (referring to Lalu Prasad) but what did he do for the state? When husband (Lalu) was going to jail, he made his wife CM and tried to brag that he installed a woman as CM. But it was only after NDA came to power that we gave 50 per cent reservation to women in panchayats. Some people seek votes in name of caste and religion but do nothing for them. What did they do for Bhagalpur riot victims? When our government came in which BJP was alliance partners, we gave compensation and pension to the riot victims,” said Nitish, cautioning people against caste politics being played.
The Bihar CM said Lalu Prasad has been accusing others of putting him in jail, but the people know that only the courts have the power of convicting an accused.
Paswan said, “Several upper caste leaders like Madhu Dandvate and Raj Narain helped me grow… Do you know PM Modi is from EBC? An EBC PM has given 10 per cent reservation to the upper-caste poor.”
The LJP also accused the RJD of trying to play “backward versus forward” for political gains. “Lalu Prasad talks so much about MY (Muslim-Yadav). But why he did not agree to demand of installing Muslim CM by me in the 2005 February Assembly polls?” he said.