| Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar |
Patna, July 6: Narendra Modi has learnt a lot from Bihar, and its leaders.
During a teleconference with party leaders in the city today, the BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign committee chief said the 1974 movement had started from Gujarat and reached its peak in Bihar. “There is a 1974-like anti-Congress wave prevailing in the country now. The mandate of the people of Bihar was for the NDA. Like then (in 1974), those who betrayed the people’s mandate in Bihar will be taught a lesson,” Modi told them without taking the name of chief minister Nitish Kumar.
“Bihar has given us the first President, Rajendra Prasad. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel from Gujarat had played a key role in getting Rajendra Babu elected as the first President. Similarly, Jai Prakash Narayan played an important role while making Morarji Desai the Prime Minister. We have always helped each other and will keep on doing this work,” he said while elaborating how Bihar and Gujarat have stood shoulder to shoulder with each other for decades.
He, however, did not mention how both the states might miss each other in forming a government at the Centre next year though.
Modi did not utter the name of Nitish even once during his conversation with the party workers although many of them complained to him that how the Bihar chief minister had “betrayed the BJP”.
“He (Modi) laughed loudly when I told him how Nitish had betrayed the party and said we had to think and work in terms of strengthening India as a whole,” former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi told The Telegraph quoting his conversation with Modi, who focused on rebuilding the country, not just the two states.
Modi, during his hour-long interaction with the 15 and odd leaders from 6pm, said: “Bihar played a pivotal role in the development of Gujarat; you can feel this by the smell of sweat of Bihari workers.”
He also came up with “success mantra” for the booth-level workers while interacting with the leaders. While praising the phenomenal vote share the BJP achieved during the 2009 and 2010 polls, he asked the cadres to increase it more in the 2014 general elections. “You are required to keep the rate further up. Work hard with the people to increase their faith in our party,” he said, adding: “I have a lot of expectation from Bihar, the land of Gautam Buddha and Mahavir. I am sure that all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar will be captured by the BJP,” said Modi.
Modi even surprised the local leaders with his knowledge about their working areas. During the conversation with Banka district president Anil Kumar Singh, Modi said: “Banka is bordering Jharkhand and I am sure you must be facing Naxalite problems. I also remember the late Banka MP, Digvijay Singh; he was my very good friend.”
However, Modi’s praise for Digvijay is, in a way, interpreted as his veiled attack on Nitish. Digvijay had fallen from Nitish who had denied him a ticket for the Banka seat in 2009. Digvijay had won the seat as an Independent. Anil was surprised to listen all this from a person who had been denied an entry to Bihar by Nitish. Quoting Modi, Anil said: “When I asked him (Modi) if the Gujarat model could be replicated in Bihar he stated that he had never said so. Every state has its own characteristics. But one state can learn from others. For example, I have learnt many things from Bihar.”
The JD(U) state president, Bashishtha Narayan Singh, said that the teleconference would not have any impact in the state’s rural areas.
“It is a hi-tech technology and the people of Bihar will not take this seriously. This teleconference will not have any impact and hardly make any difference in the rural areas,” said Singh.
During his conversation with Sushil Modi, Modi iterated his acceptance to participate in the party’s Hunkar rally on October 27.