Modi’s remarks post Dadri lynching not ‘strong enough’, says Nitish Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not making a “strong enough” statement in the wake of the Dadri lynching and also censured him for not reacting immediately to the incident.

The JD(U) leader also flayed Modi for invoking the President’s message on tolerance and plurality instead of directly condemning the lynching incident. He said Modi’s comments on Thursday on maintaining communal harmony and eradicating poverty were not “strong enough” to allay apprehensions among the people. Kumar also accused BJP of playing the communal card to divert attention away from the real issues.

“The PM should have reacted quickly. His statement was not strong enough. Instead of remaining silent, he should have reacted immediately (on the Dadri incident) to allay apprehensions and repose confidence among people,” Kumar said in an interview to a TV channel.

The prime minister’s statement should have been direct and he should not have invoked the President as it is Modi who is the elected leader of the country, Kumar said even as he wondered why he had made his remark in Bihar rather than at the central level.

At an election rally on Friday, Kumar had also accused Modi of using President Pranab Mukherjee’s statement as an ‘alibi’ and asked him to show courage to condemn the Dadri lynching incident in ‘unequivocal terms’. Kumar had also dared him to a debate.

JD(U) is contesting the upcoming Bihar polls as part of a grand alliance with RJD and Congress, exuded confidence about their victory and asserted that the alliance would remain intact after the elections even as he dismissed suggestions of joining hands with Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM should such a situation arise.

Kumar also targeted Modi for his silence on RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reservation comments and alleged that the prime minister’s assertion of focussing on development “sounded hollow” as the Centre had curtailed central allocation to various welfare programmes, including MNREGA.