| (From left) Leader of the Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and BJP president Rajnath Singh at the meeting in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, June 23: BJP president Rajnath Singh today slammed the JD(U) allegation that Narendra Modi was “autocratic” and “divisive”, asking what sin had he committed that provoked the former ally to walk away after 17 years together with the NDA.
“You have had no problems with Modi between 2002 and 2013, during which his stocks continued to rise... But all of a sudden you have found fault with him and decided to part ways by citing difficulties in working with him,” Rajnath said.
“Modi has been made only the chief of BJP’s poll campaign panel and not the prime ministerial candidate. Yet the JD(U) chose to walk out by drawing its own conclusion about the affairs of another party. Every political party is entitled to make its own decisions... We (BJP) had decided to make Modi our poll campaign panel chief in view of his popularity and charisma to draw votes. What is wrong in that?” Rajnath asked.
“No civilised and cultured society would support the way the BJP ministers were shown the door. I am fully aware that the Bihar people value their culture and tradition. They will never pardon the maltreatment meted out to the BJP leaders who helped the resurrection of the state,” he said, addressing a meeting of the state- and block-level BJP workers.
Rajnath arrived here today on a two-visit to boost the morale of the party cadres ahead of the 2014 elections. The meeting with the party workers was a part of the mission.
“Pleasantly surprised” to see the upbeat spirit of the party cadres after the split with the JD(U), Rajnath said: “Usually, such excitement is seen when the party comes to power. But I am pleasantly surprised to see the enthusiasm among the cadres after losing power in Bihar.”
Cautioning Nitish, Rajnath said: “Nitishji is our old friend. He has made a suicidal move by deviating from the ideals of his icons — Jayaparakah Naraayan and Ram Manohar Lohia — and befriending the Congress. The Congress will devour him, leaving him nowhere.”
He then dwelt at length how the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre turned out to be a “synonym” to corruption, price rise and weakening of India. While reminding Nitish that he had himself repeatedly described the Congress as the symbol of corruption and price rise, Rajnath exhorted his cadres to work hard to make the BJP an alternative.
The bitterness of the BJP leaders towards the JD(U) after the split came out in the open today with all the former BJP ministers, including former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, attacking Nitish.
“Nitish’s former cabinet colleague and our party leader Ashwini Kumar Choubey lost seven of his family members and relatives in the nature’s fury in Kedarnath. Instead of launching rescue operations for the people from Bihar trapped in Uttarakhand, Nitish was plotting the ouster of his 17-year-old allies,” Modi said, adding that the insensitivity on Nitish’s part can be gauged from the fact that Choubey learnt about his ouster from the ministry after reaching Delhi bruised and battered. “Choubey had to hire a private taxi to reach the hospital,” Modi added.
Earlier known for his closeness with Nitish, Modi said: “The Nitish government has woken up five days after the natural calamity and has now decided to do some rescue work.”
The BJP’s minority community face and Bhagalpur MP Shahnawaz Hussain questioned Nitish’s secularism. “The BJP had far more MLAs than his (Nitish’s) erstwhile Samata Party in 2002. But in a bid to grab power Nitish went to Kutch in December 2004 to sing paeans to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Nitish said Narendra Modi should go out of Gujarat to serve the nation. A power seeker, Nitish befriended Narendrabhai to rule Bihar. Now, he is showing friendship towards Muslims to get their votes and attain more power,” he said.
The BJP state unit chief, Mangal Pandey, distributed hundreds of CDs on Nitish praising Narendra Modi at Kutch among workers. He exhorted the party activists to distribute them among people so that they could know the “true colour” of Nitish.
The party’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav and several other BJP leaders targeted Nitish to vent their ire amid slogans “Narendra Modi zindabad (Hail Narendra Modi)” and “Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho (A leader of the country should be like Narendra Modi)” renting in the air.