Sunday, 9 August,Gaya (Bihar): Narendra Modi Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the Parivartan rally at Gandhi Maidan, in Gaya on Sunday. PTI photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday mounted a scathing attack on the “politically opportunistic” JD(U)-RJD alliance in Bihar, repeatedly invoking the spectre of “Jungle Raj”, which he warned the coalition would usher in if voted to power. Modi also vowed to remove the BIMARU tag given to the laggard state within five years of BJP-led NDA coming to power, but did not announce the much-expected economic package he has promised.
Addressing his second rally in a fortnight in the poll-bound state, Modi said, the assembly polls, due in October-November, presented an opportunity to the people to free themselves of a government “steeped in arrogance”. Modi, who made repeated reference to “jungle raj”, the euphemism used for alleged misgovernance during the Lalu-Rabri rule, in his 40-minute speech, cautioned the people against bringing it back after the polls as he highlighted the contradictions plaguing the RJD-JD(U) alliance.
“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,” he said, hinting at RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s incarceration for alleged involvement in the fodder scam.
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.
Presenting a united picture of the NDA in the state, BJP’s alliance partners–Ram Vilas Paswan of Lok Janshakti Party, Upendra Kushwaha of Lok Samata Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha (secular) leader and fomer state chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi shared the dais with Modi. Many rebel JD(U) MLAs including Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo, Rahul Sharma, Rajib Ranjan and Anil Kumar were also seen on dais.
“If you want Bihar to be out of the category of BIMARU states, hand over the reins to a BJP government….an NDA government which has capable leadership of people like Jitan Ram Manjhi, Ram Vilas Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha and Sushil Kumar Modi,” he said.
“Give us five years, we will ensure that Bihar gets out of the ‘BIMARU’ category,” he said, adding that under BJP’s leadership, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have come out of it and were moving fast on the path of development, like BJP-ruled Haryana and Gujarat.
Modi, who had recently described RJD as a party signifying “Rojana Jungle Raj Ka Dar”, coined another name for JD(U)–“Janata ka Daman aur Utpidan (Oppression and Suppression of People)”.
“Recently, a BJP worker was shot dead in broad daylight on a street in Patna, right under the government’s nose….Is it not the beginning of another jungle raj?” Modi asked a hugely responsive crowd that shouted “yes! yes!” in approval.
Unlike his ‘DNA’ remark targeting Nitish Kumar, made at a rally in Muzaffarpur on July 25, that created controversy and drew a sharp response from the Bihar Chief Minister, Modi today made no personal remarks against him, but targeted him over alleged lack of development under his stewardship.
“These people holding the lantern have kept Bihar in darkness,” he said, referring to RJD’s election symbol as he targeted the Nitish Kumar for failure to reach electricity to every part of the state.
“Today, the per capita power consumption in a tiny state like Sikkim is 1000 kw, while in Bihar it is a meagre 150 kw. Even Jharkhand that was born out of Bihar consumes five times more,” he said.