Modi beefs up NDA’s Bihar poll campaign

Modi beefs up NDA''s Bihar poll campaignMUNGER/BEGUSARAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today vigorously stirred Bihar’s electoral pot, launching a scalding attack on RJD chief Lalu Prasad for his “Hindus also eat beef” comments calling it an “insult” to “Yaduvanshis” and provoking accusations of attempting to communalize the polls.

Modi, whose silence on the Dadri beef lynching incident has been questioned by the opposition, repeatedly targeted Lalu over his remark, terming it as an insult to the “yaduvanshis” (yadava clan) as also Bihar.

“What all is he saying. What all Yadavs eat? Whatever position Lalu rose to, it was because of these Yaduvanshis and he insulted them. What kind of abuses you are hurling at them.

Is it not an insult of Yadavs and Bihar? Do not humiliate the Yaduvanshis so much? Laluji, these Yaduvanshis helped you to come to power,” said Modi, addressing elections rallies in Munger, Begusarai and Samastipur.

He also trashed Lalu’s explanation that he made the beef remark under the influence of “shaitan” (devil).

“I wonder the devil got only his (Lalu) body to enter. I want to know how the shaitan got the address (of Lalu). The devil got no other body in entire Bihar, India and the whole world except that of his. And he also welcomed the devil as if some relative has come,” Modi said.

Modi’s repeated reference to Lalu’s beef remark drew a sharp reaction from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who termed it as “a brazen attempt to add communal texture to the polls”.

“The real Modi on display – brazen attempt to add communal texture to Bihar polls, but deafening silence on deplorable incident of Dadri,” Kumar tweeted.

In another tweet, Kumar said it was for all to see “why Vajpayee ji was forced to remind him (Modi) to follow Raj Dharma, but wonder who will do the Vajpayee today ?”

Kumar was referring to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s words during his visit to a relief camp after the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat when Modi was the Chief Minister.

The RJD chief, who had made the controversial remark in the aftermath of the Dadri lynching, made a quick about turn, saying his tongue seemed to have been possessed by the devil in a moment of weakness.

The Prime Minister’s attack on the RJD supremo followed the latter’s attempts at consolidating his backward class support base after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for a review of the reservation policy. Lalu was quick to latch on to Bhagwat’s comments to claim that the Modi government was planning to scrap quotas. Despite the government and BJP quickly distancing from the RSS chief’s views, both Lalu and Nitish had claimed a move to do away with reservations was afoot.

Reservation has a sensitive issue in post-Mandal Bihar and helped Lalu rally behind him the vast backward class population during RJD’s 15-year unbroken stint in power before Nitish Kumar, backed by BJP, assumed the state’s reins.

Lalu’s beef remarks came as a welcome relief to the BJP-led alliance as Modi sought to turn tables on the rival JD (U)-RJD-Congress coalition over an equally emotive and sensitive issue in the cow belt.

Referring to Dwarka connection of Lord Krishna in Gujarat, Modi projected Lalu as a leader who does not honor “true Yaduvanshi tradition” and alleged that he not only insulted them but everybody in Bihar.

“I come from the land of Gujarat. Dwarka is the land of Lord Krishna where people worship cows. They brought white revolution. As far the question of following the true Yaduvanshi tradition is concerned, it being done there. And here the leaders are meting out this kind of insult to Yaduvanshis. What kind of abuses he is heaping on them? Modi said.

With beef being the flavor of Bihar’s electoral discourse, Lalu challenged Modi to prove he had made the ‘shaitan’ (devil) on his tongue comment or tender apology to the people of Bihar for insulting them through this barb against him.

“I challenge Modi to show me my ‘shaitan’ (devil) comment or else publicly apologies for it to the people of Bihar for insulting them by this barb on me,” Prasad tweeted.

“Lalu worships cow. Cow dung is like ‘chandan’ (sandalwood) for us,” Lalu said in Patna.

Modi also used the death anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan today to attack Nitish and Lalu, saying those who once sang paeans to the socialist leader have now joined hands with Congress which had sent JP to jail during Emergency.

Alleging that Congress is trying to make a “backdoor” entry into Bihar politics by aligning with JD(U) and RJD after having lost its own relevance, Modi questioned both Lalu and Nitish over their commitment to ‘JP’ who fought against Congress his entire life.

“Congress imposed Emergency and put JP behind bars where he fell ill and as a result passed away early… .Standing by the same Congress, they are now abusing BJP. Congress ruled the state for 35 years followed by 15 years of RJD and 10 years of JD-U,” he said.

Nitish came to power promising to end jungle raj. “He has now joined hands with Lalu to bring Jungle Raj 2. What relationship is there between this Bada Bhai and Chhota Bhai..?

The three parties that destroyed Bihar have come together,” he said, adding that the huge number of people seen in BJP rallies will sweep the three parties away.

Under constant attack from the grand alliance over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s demand for a review of the reservation policy – a contention rejected by BJP – Modi attempted to project the Bihar election as a fight beyond caste issue and reached out to the youth.

“Political pundits will be forced to change their thinking in Bihar. For the first time it will be (fought) above caste considerations. It will be fought on the issue of youth and development. These will be the central issues now,” he said attacking the rivals for unemployment and poverty in the state.–PTI

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