After the Bihar chief minister on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “please consider taking back” his comments on Nitish Kumar’s DNA as it insulted the state’s people, the BJP-led NDA leaders shot back by saying that “Bihar is not Nitish; Nitish is not Bihar”.
Sensing that Nitish Kumar raked up the “DNA comment” ahead of Modi’s three public meetings in Bihar this month, the NDA leaders sent an open letter to counter the chief minister’s letter.
“We are deeply anguished that there is a clear, condemnable and calculated attempt to misappropriate the voice of Bihar as the voice of one man, the chief minister and his ambitions. Never has Bihar tolerated any attempt by any individual to appropriate the voice and conscience of the people of Bihar. We want to humbly state that Bihar is not Nitish Kumar and Nitish Kumar is not Bihar” a letter written by the NDA leaders said.
These leaders include union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, senior BJP leader C.P. Thakur and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Interestingly, they wrongly mentioned July 26 as the date of the Prime Minister’s public meeting in Muzaffarpur.
In fact, addressing a public meeting in Muzaffarpur on July 25, Modi said: “There seems to be some problem in his (Nitish Kumar’s) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy, you give respect even to your political rivals.”
The NDA leaders said Modi made a very accurate and pertinent remark on Nitish Kumar’s political journey, which in “our view (and that of several others) is characterised by deceit, treachery and ungratefulness.”
“The remarks of the prime minister pertained to Nitish Kumar’s (and not Bihar’s) political DNA (and not your or Bihar’s DNA as he have mischievously misinterpreted)… Nitish Kumar, before writing to the prime minister, please apologise to the people of Bihar for shamelessly distorting the words of the prime minister for petty political gains and humiliating Bihar in the process,” the letter read.
In an open letter released on Twitter, Nitish Kumar said Modi’s July 25 remark questioning his DNA was being seen as an “insult” by a large section of the people of the state and beyond.
“Most of us feel that these statements, beyond questioning my own descent, have disrespected the lineage of our people and denigrated the great legacy of the state,” the Janata Dal-United leader said.
“This also gives credence to the feeling that perhaps you and your party hold a prejudice against the people of Bihar. Therefore, through this letter, I take the liberty to urge you to please consider taking back these words,” Nitish Kumar said, pointing out that this was not the first time such comments were made.
He said former BJP president and now central minister Nitin Gadkari had remarked earlier that “casteism is in the DNA of Bihar”.