Gandhinagar, Dec. 17: They both are born leaders and tough taskmasters. But they differ on the family front.
While Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, a bachelor, is known for keeping his family members away from his workplace, his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar is used to free himself for family get-togethers.
Modi keeps only three official staff to assist him, according to sources at his Gandhinagar Sector-19 residence. His family is nowhere in the picture even around his personal life.
On the other hand, Nitish welcomes his brother, sisters and other close relatives to join him during festivals and celebrations. Unlike Modi whose mother stays at his Wadnagar family home, Nitish served and looked after his mother Parmeshwari Devi at his 1 Aney Marg residence till she breathed her last two years ago.
Modi and Nitish, the powerful regional kshatraps, who are perceived to be the fierce rivals in the undeclared competition for the prime ministerial post, have as much striking similarities as dissimilarities. Both the chief ministers have earned the accolades the “best” in the vision of development and governance. Even their staunch critics in the NDA term them “workaholics, smart and diligent”.
There is one more striking similarity between the two: dealing with bureaucracy.
A senior IAS officer of Gujarat confided that it was tough had to face Modi during a recent review meeting. “He (Modi) invariably stays aware of almost everything related to his government’s departments. And if he questions us on any issue, it is hard to wriggle out for he is always equipped with his solid homework,” he said. Nitish, too, is similar in the sense that his bureaucracy can find it hard to misguide him.
Yet, Modi and Nitish sharply differ in their respective manners, style, disposition and demeanour. There is a sharp difference in the ways they communicate their message and articulate their thoughts and expressions. While Modi sounded rhythmic but rhetorical indulging in demagoguery picking up the names of his opponents Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and spewing venom at them without qualms, Nitish seldom calls his opponents by name even during the heat of campaigning.
Be it his upbringing in secular ethos or his training under socialist icons Jayaprakash Narayan and Karpoori Thakur, Nitish never speaks anything offensive to the Muslims.
Unlike Modi who brings Pakistan and its “sinister design against India” time and again during his rallies, Nitish never makes snide remarks about the neighbouring country. Rather he went on a nine-day invitational trip there last month.
Unlike his Gujarat counterpart who speaks in the manner of commanding his voters and asking them to “vote for me”, Nitish invariably makes his speeches interactive, giving the impression that whatever he was speaking or doing it was with the permission of his masses.