| Chief minister Nitish Kumar at an election rally in New Delhi on Saturday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha |
New Delhi, Nov. 30: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today visited areas in the national capital with high concentration of Bihari and Purvanchali voters and warned them of “destructive forces looming large over the country”.
His bête noire and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi too zipped across the capital addressing rallies.
Two days before campaigning for the Delhi Assembly elections ends, Nitish hit the poll turf with the promise of “Bihar-like development” under his regime in Delhi’s underbelly — inhabited by migrant labourers, mostly from Bihar — and conveniently ignored by the rulers in the capital.
“Both the BJP and the Congress have ruled the capital for decades. But the condition of localities where a large population of working classes lives is worse than in the villages of Bihar which are infamous for pathetic living conditions. Even now, the Congress rules the Assembly and the BJP is in majority in the municipal body here. But people from Bihar and eastern UP are living a hellish life here. We want them to judge whether they want this to continue or want a new lease of life,” said Nitish, while addressing a sizeable gathering at Dwarka in southwest Delhi.
Without naming Modi, he also took a dig at him saying his polity was that of hatred and division. “I am happy to have disassociated from a party which has been overtaken by such a divisive figure. One who does not understand and respect ethics, values and diversity of Indian society, should not dream of ruling it,” he said.
At his next stop at Sangam Vihar in southeast Delhi, he promised that his party candidates in all seats would be sensitive to the issues of Purvanchalis living in Delhi.
“During our tenure in the state, the significance of having origins in Bihar has changed. Earlier, it was treated as a stigma, today, it is a matter of pride. We want our people living here in the capital to have the same sense of pride and respect. Our party is committed to the cause of Biharis wherever they live,” Nitish said.
He also took part in a public meeting Okhla, south Delhi. Nitish is also scheduled to address voters in many parts of Delhi on Sunday.
This time, the JD(U) has fielded candidates in all 70 seats of the capital. With heavyweights like Matia Mahal’s four-time sitting MLA Shoaib Iqbal having joined it and his nephew, Khurram Iqbal, who is sitting councillor from Jama Masjid, contesting from the Chandni Chowk seat, the party hopes to make a debut in the capital’s politics.
The move, strategically taken by state party president Sabir Ali, is aimed at wooing Muslim voters in old Delhi area. The party also hopes to garner support of around 30 lakh of the total 1.15-crore electorate, Purvanchali voters, majority of whom is from Bihar.
Many, however, suspect that JD(U)’s ploy is meant to help the ruling Congress by cutting into Purvanchali voters, who are mostly inclined towards the BJP.