Modi slams Nitish, Lalu over sting video; for “insulting” JP’s legacy

Jehanabad/Bhabua

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a blistering attack against rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad over a sting video of a senior JD-U minister allegedly accepting bribe, saying they have “no shame” and accused them of “insulting” JP’s legacy of fighting corruption.

Addressing back-to-back election rallies in Jehanabad and Bhabhua, Modi said leaders of the grand alliance are “scared” and flayed them for approaching Election Commission to halt the live telecast of his meetings today, when the first phase of the assembly poll is underway.

In a huge embarrassment for the Nitish Kumar government, just a day before the first phase of polls, a sting video surfaced yesterday showing senior minister Awadhesh Prasad Kushwaha purportedly accepting bribe after which he had to resign.

Referring to the incident, Modi said what was worse that it happened on the birth anniversary of the socialist icon.

“This was done by those who used to stake claim to JP’s legacy. Such insult to JP should have never been done.”

Modi said,”Such leaders have committed the sin of reducing Bihar’s honour to dust.”

“In the sting he (Awadesh) says there are five ministers (who would benefit from alleged bribe). Name those five ministers. Two more have been caught committing the sin but their leader does not feel bad about it. He does not feel bad about this sin or ‘jungle raj’ or corruption.

“Can Bihar be allowed to go into the hands of people, who have become shameless, to those who are not ashamed of such money transactions? There is something called shame in public life due to which even if somebody is caught committing a sin, he sits back at home. But here he is strutting,” he said, attacking RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

Political circles in Bihar are abuzz with two more possible exposes in the pipeline, both involving RJD leaders.

In the video, the audio quality of which is not good, Kushwaha has been shown reportedly saying that a Mumbai firm wants to help some like-minded ministers in these elections and expects favours from them in return.

Linking the incident to Nitish Kumar’s alliance with the RJD chief, Modi said,” As long as the BJP was a part of the government, there was no such sting, no such corruption. But ever since he (Kumar) joined hands with that ‘great’ man, who has expertise in such things, all of this has begun.”

The Prime Minister also smelt a “conspiracy” and asked Election Commission to keep a special vigil in Bhabhua, which is close to his Parliamentary constituency Varanasi. The district authorities had earlier denied permission for Modi’s rally at Bhabhua but later granted it after Election Commission intervened.

“I am seeing some plan of conspiracy and this is a serious matter,” he said, without elaborating.

Seeking to blunt the good governance pitch of Nitish Kumar, chief ministerial candidate of the anti-BJP grand alliance, Modi said when the nation paid homage to JP on Sunday on his 113th birth anniversary, “it is for you to see how those who called themselves his disciples, had come into politics following in his footsteps, and kept on taking his name day and night, observed JP’s anniversary here”.

He also alluded to Prasad’s conviction in a fodder scam case.

Recalling that leaders of rival parties had earlier tried to halt his “Mann Ki Baat” programme on radio “realizing that Mann Ki baat touches the heart of people”, he said,”once again they raised a storm. They tried to stop my rallies as they thought it will have an impact over polls. When I got the permission to hold it, they took the matter forward and tried to stop the live telecast of my rallies.

“They felt they will be swept away otherwise in the voting. There is so much scare. They are trembling. They feel that people of Bihar have this time decided to bid adieu to both ‘bade bhai, chhote bhai (Lalu and Nitish), who have destroyed Bihar for last 25 years,” he said.

After the Election Commission rejected the grand alliance’s demand for cancelling the Bhabhua rally as Modi could try and influence the voting in the first phase, the anti-NDA coalition had approached the poll panel to stop live telecast of his today’s rallies.

The Election Commission, however, said while no blanket ban could be imposed, it would take action if there was any violation of the model code of conduct for elections.

Modi said “no conspiracy was left to be hatched” against him in the 15 years when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.

“You can stifle anybody’s voice in democracy but not Modi’s. If you put a ban on my meetings, I, being a ‘mazdoor’ (labourer), will start a foot march and you will not be able to do anything,” he said.

In Bhabhua, he repeatedly referred to the place’s proximity to his parliamentary seat Varanasi.

“When I was fighting elections in Varanasi, the (state) government did not allow me hold even one meeting there on one or the other pretext. I was stopped, but did it stop the people (from electing him). The governments, which are engaged in such activities should think twice. You may or may not be able to stop Modi, but will never be able to halt the surge of people,” he said.

Earlier, addressing a rally in Jehanabad, the hotbed of Bihar’s caste politics, Modi also reminded the electorate about those in power when firebrand OBC leader Jagdev Prasad, popularily called the ‘Lenin of Bihar’ was mysteriously killed in 1974.

Referring to Jagdev Prasad’s killing, he said,”When did the killing of Jagdev Babu happen? Jagdev ji fought for the deprived and the have nots.” .

The Prime Minister, who has been repeatedly targeting Lalu and Nitish Kumar during electioneering for aligning with the Congress, reminded the people that Congress was in power in Bihar when the leader was killed.

“Jagdev babu was a minister but he was murdered. Who were the people sitting in the government then who faced allegations. The voice of the Dalits and the deprived was stifled then,” he said.

Dubbing the grand alliance under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as an alliance of “grand oppotunitism,” he asked the people to vote for development, which only BJP can usher in.

Asking people to carefully weigh their options, Modi said,”If you feel it is worth doing, then help us.” PTI

PTI

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