Gopalganj: Taking on the grand alliance in Lalu Prasad’s home turf, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked Nitish Kumar whether he wanted the old days of ‘jungle raj’ when the region had turned into a ‘mini Chambal’ to return and attacked Kumar over his 2005 speech in Parliament allegedly advocating subquota for Muslims.
Modi said the old days must be acceptable to Kumar but not to the people of Bihar.
“Nitish ji says with temerity — return us the old days. You remember those days when kidnappings were the order of the day, women were dishonoured, Dalits were persecuted, robberies used to happen daily. What happened during the jungle raj. Didn’t they make this area (Gopalganj) a mini-Chambal?,” he said in a reference to Madhya Pradesh’s Chambal region where dacoits once held sway
“Here gun shots were fired indiscriminately on railway stations. There was only one thing that happened here, which was kidnapping. Do you want the area to become Chambal again? Do you want those old days? Nitishji the old days may be acceptable to you for the lust of power but not to people of Bihar,” he said.
Modi also attacked the Bihar Chief Minister over the quota issue.
“Nitish Kumar had made his intentions clear way back on 24 August, 2005. They lost cool when I alleged that they want to steal away 5 percent of reservation from the quota given to SCs/STs/OBCs and EBCs and give to a particular community. Even the makers of Indian Constitution were against it.
“I have the document of what he said in Parliament on 25 August, 2005. I challenge him to reply to this if he has the courage. He tells such big lies and engages in cheap talk. This game is not going to last long,” he said.
Modi’s portrayal of the grand alliance as being tilted towards a particular community even on reservation issue is an apparent move to take the sting out of the rivals’ attempt to portray BJP as anti-reservation after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwats’s remarks on reservation.
The Prime Minister defended the perceived change in the BJP’s campaign focus from development to identity politics as polls advanced into the final stages.
“Can I son of a backward, extremely backward and Dalits not talk about development. Now a days they are saying that Modi has changed his profile. They are saying that Modi, who earlier used to talk about development is talking about his extremely backward caste origin.
“Whether you alone have the right to talk about development. It is their arrogance, which make them say all this,” said Modi whose party has been playing on the Prime Minister’s humble origin to reach out to voters in the caste compartmentalised state.
He also read out names of the scams that were reported during the regime of Lalu and Nitish.