Describing opportunistic politics as the bane of democracy in Bihar, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday accused his political rival Nitish Kumar of betraying the people. “The people of Bihar are not opportunistic, save a few exceptions. I learnt to digest the insult to myself, but their [JD(U)’s] intentions were different. [Mr. Kumar’s] advisers told him to join hands with the Congress so that he could become Prime Minister. He has not betrayed the BJP; he has betrayed the crores of people of Bihar,” Mr. Modi said addressing the Hunkar rally at the Gandhi Maidan here.
The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said Mr. Kumar had betrayed the legacy of socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. “He is playing hide and seek with the Congress.”
Calling Mr. Kumar “our friend,” Mr. Modi asked, “Why will those who left JP [Jayaprakash Narayan] not leave the BJP?”
Referring to a meeting of Chief Ministers in Delhi, Mr. Modi cited Mr. Kumar’s unease about sitting at the same table with him and said, “There is a limit to hypocrisy.”
The BJP had sacrificed the post of Chief Minister and accepted Mr. Kumar’s leadership to keep the “jungle raj” out. When Mr. Kumar opposed his coming to Bihar for campaigning, the party swallowed that insult too.
Attacking the dynastic politics of the Congress, Mr. Modi said if that party relinquished its dynastic politics he would give up calling Rahul Gandhi shezada (prince).
Assailing the Centre, he said “the UPA is making a mockery of people’s poverty. The Planning Commission says you are not poor if you have Rs. 26 a day. With Rs. 26, you can’t even buy tea for the whole family. Their ministers say you can buy a meal for Rs. 12. Is this not a joke? They don’t know anything about poverty or hunger. I do. I have lived it. I know it. I grew up selling tea at railway stations. Tea vendors at the stations know more about the problems of the Railways than the Railway Ministers,” Mr. Modi said.
The Congress had failed to deliver on its promise of reducing inflation, providing jobs, eradicating poverty and addressing the plight of farmers. Therefore, the country needed “a transformation” and it was time to unseat the Congress-led government.
He endorsed the BJP’s demand for a Rs. 50,000-crore package for Bihar.
Mr. Modi attacked the ruling Congress and other political rivals for creating caste, religious and regional divides.
“Do the poor Hindus and Muslims want to fight with each other, or do they want to fight poverty? Both want to come together to fight poverty. The rulers have taken the country in a wrong direction. My mantra is development. Our religion is ‘India first’ and the Constitution is our sacred text. We have to carry out inclusive politics. Every caste and community should be brought together.”
BJP president Rajnath Singh took a dig at Mr. Gandhi for his “maudlin appeals” and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a slew of corruption scandals.