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Parallels between Nitish & Obama

The re-election of Barrack Obama has sparked an unusual comparison between the US President and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. “Both of them seem to benefit from natural calamities. In 2008, the Kosi deluge devastated parts of Saharsa. Nitish launched a massive rehabilitation programme and NDA won in the region during the next Lok Sabha elections. Obama’s rating in the recent elections also took a northward turn after cyclone Sandy hit the US east coast. Even the Republicans (Obama’s political opponents) praised his administration for the relief and rescue work,” said a former politician. The US President won significantly in New York, which was worst hit by the natural calamity.

Such comparisons are not new, though. A US envoy to the state had earlier praised the work done by the Nitish-led government, boosting the morale of the JD(U) leaders and workers. RJD chief Lalu Prasad had then commented: “If Nitish’s achievements were so great, he would have been given the Nobel Prize instead of Obama.” The US President won the Peace Prize in 2009, soon after his election for the first term in November 2008.

‘True’ &‘false’ Modi

When Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi came to pay homage to deceased BJP patriarch Kailashpati Mishra, a number of BJP leaders known to be loyal to him — like animal and fish resources minister Giriraj Singh, health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey and MLA Rameshwar Chaurasia — attended the programme. One senior Bihar BJP leader conspicuous by his absence was deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi. “The BJP supporters raised slogans in favour of making Narendra Modi NDA’s prime ministerial candidate,” said an observer. “But there were also slogans to remove the nakli (false) Modi (read Sushil) from the seat of the deputy chief minister.”

Throw stones at crowd

The large crowd at the JD(U) Adhikar Rally at Gandhi Maidan spurred the opposition to take pot shots at the ruling party. “The district administration made junior police officers and constables pelt stones and shoes at the stage,” said RJD chief Lalu Prasad, referring to the protests Nitish had to face during his visits to the districts to drum up support for the November 4 meeting. Ridiculing the JD(U) claim that over a million people had attended the rally, Lalu said: “Even if Gandhi Maidan is full, the crowd size will not exceed 5 lakh.” The JD(U) leaders were amused. “When Lalu was in power, they would claim larger number for smaller crowds,” retorted a former JD(U) MP.

Visit to bolster vote bank

As the politics in Gujarat and within the BJP warmed up, chief minister Nitish Kumar embarked on his Pakistan visit. “Going to Pakistan means wooing minority votes,” said a BJP leader, recalling that Lalu Prasad had delivered a series of lectures across the state on his visit to the neighbouring country. The RJD chief, however, demurred. “Nitish should visit Pakistan before losing power in the state,” he said.