Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Sunday that his Gujarat counterpart had become a “self-proclaimed” Prime Minister.

Without naming Mr. Modi, Mr. Kumar said, “He has already become a self-proclaimed PM. So he should tell us when he plans to attack Pakistan. When does he plan to take back the territory occupied by China?” he was addressing the Janata Dal (United)’s ‘Sankalp rally’ in Patna.

“There are some who have already posted a victory in the surveys. If they have won the elections in the surveys, then what’s the need to contest? They can go ahead and take oath as PM,” he remarked.

Mr. Kumar accused the BJP of “rumour-mongering” and for being power-hungry. Referring to the split in the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar, he said, “It is they who betrayed our trust by straying from the agreed path and breaking the promise of keeping out controversial issues and individuals. We had cleared our stand on PM candidate one and a half years ago. But we were told that was not possible. We never compromised on our principles. I do not care if our government falls while upholding the principles [of secularism and inclusive growth].”

In another jab at Mr. Modi, Mr. Kumar pointed to errors in history texts in Gujarat schools. “The State is being projected as the model State. But their school textbook says Bapu [Mahatma Gandhi] was killed on October 30, when everyone knows it was January 30. Next they say that in the World War II Japan dropped the atom bomb on the United States of America, when it was the other way round. Such is the great knowledge being imparted to the children in that State. Whereas, Bihar was a world-renowned centre of learning. We have to revive this legacy.”

Special status

Driving home the demand of special status for Bihar, Mr. Kumar said the Centre had put the plan in “cold storage” owing to pressure from their allies. He urged the people to strengthen the JD(U) at the Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls to make special status for Bihar and other backward states a reality.

“This is a political issue for us. This is a fight till the finish. We are backward because of the Centre’s policies. These policies need to be changed. For this our position in Delhi has to be strengthened,” he said.