Patna: Hitting out at Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said these leaders were still living in an archaic age, believing in superstition, a reference to the recent tantrik controversy.
Taking a dig at the Grand Alliance, Modi said, “So far we knew only three players in Mahagatbandhan — Bada Bhai Laluji, Chhota Bhai Nitishji and Madam Sonia Gandhi. But for the first time I came to know there is also a fourth player, a tantrik. Now there are four players in this alliance of grand opportunism.”
“We do not need jantar mantar (occult practices) we need computers. Our youths should have laptops in their hand, not taaveej (amulets),” Modi said.
Addressing his first rally at Chapra after the Durga Puja break — with 13 to go across the state — he strongly pitched for the development of Bihar with his own six-point approach in response to Nitish Kumar’s seven commitments.
“We have a three-point formula for the state that is electricity, water and road,” he said. “We have another three-point formula for families that is education and employment for youth and medicine for the elderly,” he added.
Taking note of Nitish Kumar’s remark related to Biharis and Baharis (outsiders), he said that during the rule of parties that made up the Grand Alliance, youth were forced to migrate as baharis to other states due to lack of job opportunities in their home state.
In an apparent bid for the crucial EBC (Extremely Backward Caste) vote, he referred to his humble background as a tea seller, belonging to an “extremely backward caste”.
In a strong rebuttal to recent remarks of Grand Alliance leaders, he asserted, “Rights given by Babasaheb Ambedkar for the socially backward classes will never be taken away by my government.”
“We talk of development in our election rallies but they (Lalu and Nitish) talk of ‘Modi and Modi only’,” he said.
Mocking the two sons of Lalu Prasad who are contesting this assembly election, he said, “Ask Laluji’s son to write Rs 1,25,000 crore on a sheet of paper. If he doesn’t, how can he spend the money I gave Bihar?”
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hit back only hours laters. “The people of Bihar have made Shah and the autocrat (Modi) realise the power of democratic forces in this election… they have been rattled by an imminent defeat,” Kumar said in a tweet.
Earlier in the day, Kumar attacked Modi for his alleged failure to deliver on his election promises and said the PM had made “tactical silence” a weapon of choice. “Modiji was always unmatched in theatrics, rhetoric and using unsubstantiated facts. Now tactical silence is his new weapon of choice,” Kumar said on Twitter, ahead of Modi’s rallies. Kumar questioned Modi’s silence on promises like bringing back black money, hike in MSP for farmers, youth employment and special status for Bihar. He asked why the PM was quiet on the killing of two Dalit siblings in Haryana and the Dadri lynching, besides the increasing prices of pulses and said it was baffling that someone (Modi) who did not miss an opportunity to “talk or tweet”, has not spoken on these raging issues so far. Meanwhile, JD (U) Rajya Sabha MP Pawan Verma dubbed the PM’s six-point programme a copy of Nitish’s seven-point agenda.
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