Targeting the RJD, the BJP president said those who rose to power drawing upon the legacy of Jayaprakash Narayan have ended up joining hands with the very Congress party he opposed
Gaya: Bihar needs the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for its progress, BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda said on Sunday, backing the JD(U) chief’s bid for a fourth consecutive term in power.
Addressing an election rally at the Gandhi Maidan in Gaya, Nadda targetted the Opposition RJD and said that those who rose to power drawing upon the legacy of Jayaprakash Narayan have ended up joining hands with the very Congress party which the legendary socialist leader dislodged from power.
This was the first public meeting to be addressed by a top leader in the run-up to the state elections which are being held amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Nadda was sharing the stage with a number of leaders of the BJP and the JD(U), besides former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi whose Hindustani Awam Morcha returned to the NDA months ago.
Gaya district has 10 Assembly segments and in more than half of those, rebel NDA partner LJP — which has vowed to dislodge Nitish Kumar from power — has fielded its nominees against candidates of the JD(U) and the HAM, including Manjhi who is himself contesting from Imamganj.
Social distancing norms were enforced at the rally with attendees being made to sit far apart and undergo thermal screening and spraying of sanitisers at entry points.
Quite a few people were, however, seen sitting without face masks. Some of the women stood out as they wore masks having the BJP’s ‘lotus’ symbol.
“Leadership of India is secured in the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it is important that the leadership of Bihar is secured with Nitish Kumar. The state needs the leadership of both Modi and Kumar,” Nadda said.
LJP chief Chirag Paswan has been targeting the Nitish Kumar government for the past few months, and the BJP’s silence on the matter gave rise to misgivings that the son of late Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan had the tacit approval of Nadda’s party which is eager to expand its footprints in Bihar – the only state in the Hindi heartland where it has not yet had a chief minister.
However, Paswan junior’s recent brinkmanship has forced the BJP to distance itself from the LJP’s antics, issuing a warning that “only those will be deemed to be in NDA in Bihar who accepts the leadership of Nitish Kumar”.
Nadda also showered praises on Kumar for his handling of the COVID 19 pandemic, in an apparent rebuff to the Opposition parties as well as the LJP, all of which have accused the state government of mismanaging the crisis.
“Nitish Kumar took care of the people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance was also provided by his government to those outside the state,” he said.
Seeking to thwart attempts by RJD-led Opposition to cash in on anti-incumbency sentiment that may have set in with Kumar being in power for a decade and a half, Nadda urged voters to keep afresh memories of the lawlessness that characterised the 15 years when Lalu Prasad and, subsequently his wife, Rabri Devi ruled Bihar.
The BJP president, who has spent his childhood in Patna, said, “While passing through Frazer Road I asked how were renowned shops like D Lall and Sons and restaurants like May Fair doing. I was told chala gaya (closed down). Why? Because the lawlessness of Lalu era took a heavy toll on businesses.”
“Bihar has seen times when the busiest of crossroads got deserted by 6 pm and doctors used to be requested by their family not to leave home for attending patients out of fear that the breadwinner could get kidnapped,” Nadda alleged.
The BJP chief, whose tour of Gaya was preceded by a visit to the Jayaprakash Narayan’s residence in Patna, also sought to drive a wedge between the RJD and the Congress — alliance partners for over two decades.
“Today is JP’s birth anniversary… What an irony that those who rose to power drawing upon the legacy of Jayaprakash Narayan have ended up joining hands with the very Congress party which the legendary socialist leader dislodged from power,” he said.
Nadda also used the opportunity to provide a detailed break-up of the Rs 1.25 lakh crore package announced by the prime minister way back in 2015, which has been termed an “eyewash” by the Opposition in the state.
“It is my challenge to the detractors to prove that any of the figures quoted by me is incorrect,” he said.
Nadda said that only four medical colleges were there in Bihar, but in the last six years, the state got 14 medical colleges and work is going on for 11 others.
“New dimensions of development are being written in Bihar and it is our responsibility to drive this development,” he said.
Nadda began his day-long tour of Bihar by offering prayers at the famous Hanuman temple situated adjacent to the Patna Junction railway station. He thereafter left, along with a number of party colleagues, for JPs house where he proudly pointed out that that the socialist leader shared his birth anniversary with RSS ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh.
At the rally in Gaya, Nadda also recounted an anecdote to assert that JP and Deshmukh shared a close bond, ideological differences notwithstanding.
Nadda’s tour ended with a meeting of the state election committee in Patna.
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