Narendra Modi slams Nitish Kumar for 'nursing PM ambitions'

Written by PTI | Updated: Mar 11 2014, 01:12am hrs
Narendra Modi today sharpened his attack on Nitish Kumar, saying the JD(U) leader's "arrogance" and "ambition" to become Prime Minister drove him to split from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and compared the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Gujarat and Bihar to claim he practised "true" secularism.

The Congress-RJD alliance was also targeted by the BJP prime ministerial candidate who called it a "bhrasht-bandhan" (corrupt alliance) and said even cows and buffaloes are afraid of it as it may deprive them of their food, a reference to Lalu Prasad's conviction in fodder scam.

Flanked by leaders of new partners Lokjanshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Modi also lashed out at the Third Front, of which Kumar is one of the prime movers, calling it "a toli (group) of ex-Prime Ministers and more than a dozen PM hopefuls who wake up at the sound of elections and go to sleep for the remaining period".

The BJP leader chose the recent comments from Kumar that he had more experience than others to be the PM to attack him.

"What was the BJP-JD(U) alliance broken Some said it was his (Kumar) habit to stab in the back.... We came to know of it four days back. The dream to become PM was not letting him sleep. His arrogance is higher than Mount Everest. He says nobody is as good a PM candidate as him," he told an election rally, his third in Bihar, at the Rangabhumi maidan here.

Modi quoted from Sachar Committee's report to highlight the better socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Gujarat than Bihar.

He said only 24 per cent urban Muslims in Gujarat were poor compared to 45 per cent in Bihar and the figure was seven percent for rural Muslims in his state against 38 per cent in Bihar. He quoted literacy, health and development figures from the report to drive home his point.

"Everybody is doing vote bank politics in the name of Muslims. Dust has been thrown in your (Muslims) eyes in the name of secularism. I want to expose this lie.... We respect and honour diversity. The secularism of Gujarat is true," he said.

On the demand for special package of Bihar, he said his government would give this and anything else for the welfare of Bihar.

Modi, however, demanded that Kumar should announce first that he will not refuse any package offered to Bihar by the Centre if BJP is voted to power. He was referring to Kumar's decision in 2010 to return Rs 5 crore aid offered by Gujarat for flood relief in Bihar after Modi advertised it in newspapers.

"He had such arrogance that he virtually spat at the face of people of Gujarat by returning the money. Such leaders should announce that they would not deny people their right due to their conceit. They must apologise for what they have done," he said without naming the JD(U) leader.

He quoted a report to allege that 1,900 schools in Bihar existed only on paper while salaries and other expenditure were being incurred on them.

The NDA government, he said, will make special efforts for the development of eastern states like Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal as they have lagged behind their western counterparts.

Takinga dig at Third Front, he said it has a dozen leaders who have got their clothes stitched in the hope of wearing it when they are elected PM.

"Where was the Third Front whent floods ravaged Bihar. Did you hear of Third Front when earthquake hit Gujarat and Hindu Mulsim riots hit Assam...," he said.

With BJP eyeing a big harvest of seats in Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha constituency, Modi reached out to the Yadav community, the largest caste in the state and support base of Lalu, asking them to change their "old ways" of politics and support him.

He promised that he would ensure a turn-around in animal husbandry field, which has traditionally employed Yadavs in large numbers.

BJP's new allies, Upendra Kushwaha, and LJP leader Ramchandra Paswan, were on the dais. Modi said "BJP knows how to take along alliance partners together in running a government as done by Vajpayee."

As he arrived on the stage, Modi was welcomed by priests from Varansi who blew conch shells and chanted hymns. PTI DR SNS KR SKC DR RT 03101711