In campaign mode, PM needles Nitish

Targets Kumar and Lalu for Bimaru Bihar and Jungle Raj-2.

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi is back to doing something that he does best. In election campaign mode ahead of the state assembly polls in Bihar later this year, he targeted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the state”s status as a sick state in terms of development.

At a campaign rally in Gaya on Sunday, the Prime Minister also used the opportunity to lend his support to the two beleaguered chief ministers of his party Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh.

Both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, he said, were included among the “Bimaru” states – an acronym comprising the first letters of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh in Hindi, meaning sick — where the development index was extremely low. But now both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had gotten out of the Bimaru trap. “Rajasthan was called a bimaru (sick) state, but no longer. Under Vasundhara Raje, Rajasthan has scaled new heights,” he said.

The situation he said, was similar in Madhya Pradesh. But “Madhya Pradesh elected a BJP government… in just 10 or 12 years under Shivraj Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh is no longer a sick state.”

In contrast, the 20-year rule of Rashtriya Janata Dal led by Lalu Prasad and JD(U) led by Nitish Kumar, has kept Bihar in the dark, literally. “These lantern wallahs have kept you in the dark,” he said, taking a dig at the poll symbol of RJD, a lantern. “Is there electricity in the state? If there is the lowest per capita consumption of electricity anywhere, it is in Bihar. Even Sikkim, Jharkhand have more power.´

Targeting the RJD-JD(U) alliance as Jungle Raj-2 ( the term having been used by Nitish to describe Lalu raj), the Prime Minister said: “If Jungle Raj Part 2 comes everything will be ruined,” he said, pointing out that RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, who had been convicted in the fodder scam, has spent time in jail. “Does anyone learn good things in jail? In Jungle Raj Part 1, there was no experience of jail. In Jungle Raj Part 2, there is an experience of jail,” he added.

Modi”s references to Bimaru Bihar is the second instalment of his attack against Nitish Kumar, and earlier he had raised questions about his DNA that led to a bitter war of words.

Referring to the alliance “forged out of political opportunism”, Modi said,”Will the coalition survive after the elections are over. Those who drank poison will they spew it after the polls. Where will it fall? In people’s plate. Should you allow them to do that?  “I don’t know who’s Bhujang (snake) Prasad and who’s Chandan (sandalwood) Kumar in Bihar. Who’s serving poison and who’s drinking it, but together they will create a poisonous environment in Bihar when elections are over,” he said.

After Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s anointment as the secular alliance’s chief ministerial candidate, Lalu had said he was prepared to even drink poison to defeat communal forces, which many saw as reflecting the unease in the coalition.

Later, when asked during a public interface on Twitter about how will he take forward the state under a coalition which had Lalu Prasad’s RJD as a partner, Kumar created a flutter by citing a couplet of poet Rahim which said “sandalwood tree gathers no poison despite venomous snakes wrapping themselves around it.” Many felt the snake’s reference was to Lalu.

The rally in Gaya, which was attended by BJP party president Amit Shah and over a dozen union ministers, was held in the heart of the Magadh division in Central Bihar, considered a stronghold of Naxalites who had given a bandh call protesting Modi”s visit.

Name-calling in Battle for Bihar

Modi: Coined another name for its ally JD(U) calling it “Janata ka Daman aur Utpidan (Oppression and Suppression of People)”.

Nitish: “If PM brings down the standard of discourse by describing our party as Janata Ka Daman aur Utpiran and runs down Bihar and its people, then I am constrained to say that the BJP means Badka Jhutha Party.”

Modi: “If Jungle Raj part II arrives, everything will be ruined. During Jungle Raj part I there was no experience of jail, which would be there now. Nobody learns good things in jail”,  hinting at RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s incarceration in the fodder scam.

Nitish:  “Why doesn’t he remember Vajpayee’s advice of following Raj Dharma after the Gujarat riots. Such a situation has never been witnessed here.”

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