| Chief minister Nitish Kumar at the news meet in Patna on Monday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The ongoing excavation for gold under a temple in Uttar Pradesh has virtually united Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi.
A couple of days after Modi lashed out at the Centre for allowing Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to start excavating at Daudiya Kheda to find gold just on the word of a seer, Nitish was more vitriolic yet composed today: “The history underneath the temple is far more valuable than the witch-hunt for the treasure trove of gold. The excavation should be carried out to discover historical knowledge buried beneath.”
Reminded of the words of Modi, the chief minister said: “I have answered your query about the excavation. I am not aware of what others have said.”
He also lamented that the ASI had not been excavating the sites of 2200-year-old Balirajgarh fort in north Bihar’s Madhubani district despite his repeated requests.
“Anyone can dream anything. The dreams should not be the basis for archaeological excavation,” Nitish fumed adding: “Now, they (ASI) are trying to cover up what they have done at Dondiyakheda by taking the plea that they have done it on archaeological merit. It is ridiculous.”
Nitish also dismissed the recent poll surveys predicting poor electoral performance of his JD(U) as “baseless”.
“These surveys, based on the samples of 4,000 and odd people, are primarily a public relations exercise and source of entertainment in the run-up to the polls,” he said: “I am surprised to find that the surveys do not find anything wrong with my credibility. Still they are giving less seats to my party. How can they be credible?”
Nitish also pointed out that such surveys based on a miniscule number of electorate had no meaning in as diverse a country as India full with multiplicities and complexities.