Narendra Modi addresses the rally in Koderma on Wednesday. Picture by Vishvendu Jaipuriar
Jhumri Tilaiya (Koderma), April 2: In his third poll campaign in Jharkhand since December 2013, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi made two pit stops in Koderma and Palamau seats today before his big “Nitish face-off rally” in Bihar’s Nawada.
Going by the rousing reception he received at both constituencies, Modi — after today, he has addressed five rallies in Jharkhand, the highest by a national leader in the state so far — should have reached Bihar in high good humour.
In both Koderma and Palamau, the BJP has fielded comparatively weaker faces — state president Ravindra Rai who lost his last Assembly election and first-timer V.D. Ram — who desperately need the NaMo rub-off effect.
In Koderma’s Jhumri Tilaiya, Modi flayed the UPA combine, especially Congress alliance with RJD. “Lalu (Prasad, RJD chief, debarred from contesting polls after being convicted in a fodder scam) aur Congress ke Ashok Chavan aapki rakhwali karenge ab. Kya apne kabhi billi ko dudh ki rakhwali karte dekha hai (Lalu and Congressman Ashok Chavan will protect you now. Have you heard a cat protecting milk)?” he asked, as the 25,000-plus crowd burst into guffaws at block office grounds a little before noon.
Modi, undoubtedly the star of the show — former chief minister Arjun Munda on the dais was hooted to a halt by an impatient crowd who only wanted NaMo — played to the gallery like a seasoned virtuoso.
For 35 minutes, Modi spoke warmly on local concerns like Koderma’s comatose mica industry, blaming “wrong central government policies” for the mess.
High on local sentiment, he reminded Jhumri Tilaiya residents of the time the area was known in the country for making the maximum number of song requests on All India Radio.
Showing off painstaking research, no doubt conducted by his team, Modi added there was a time when “sunrays fell on Koderma’s mica and shone”, making them believe “the sun had come visiting”.
Instead of that, he touched on the rude reality of the present: “Ab yahan ke log mica khadano se dhibra chunte hai apni aajivika chalne ke liye (now people comb mica pieces from mines to earn a pittance).”
He said governments should have made policies for economic overhaul based on mica processing. “Policies framed in air-conditioned rooms in New Delhi have practically nothing to do with ground realities,” he added.
Jharkhand, he claimed, was formed to leverage mineral resources but as the state went from bad to worse, youths migrated for work. “Kya koi apne ma-baap, bhai-behan ko chhodkar bahar jana chahta hai (Does anyone want to leave their families)?” he asked.
Singling out former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri as the only Congressman to identify people power, he said: “Give me 60 months in power to correct things that went wrong in 60 years of Congress rule.”
“I need 300+ to make a stable government so send BJP candidate Ravindra Rai to Parliament,” he urged people, ending his speech in Koderma’s Jhumri Tilaiya.
In Daltonganj under Palamau Lok Sabha seat, Modi addressed another public meeting at Chiyanki airport grounds around 1pm.
Seeking support for BJP’s Palamau candidate V.D. Ram, a former cop-turned-politician, Modi touched on another sensitive topic.
“Congress-led government at the Centre is little interested in green revolution or white revolution. It only promotes pink revolution by giving subsidies to slaughterhouses and patronising persons engaged in selling beef,” he thundered.
Local references came aplenty here too. Referring to local 1857 first war of Indian independence hero Raja Medini Rai, he said: “Medini Rai patronised animal husbandry to boost his territory’s economy. But now, poor farmers are left high and dry in UPA rule. They don’t get subsidy.”
Ridiculing Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi as the “shehzada”, he said: “The shehzada claims his blueprint for country’s infrastructure development is ready. He took 10 years to prepare the roadmap and may need another 600 years to execute it.”
Against Ram stands TMC’s Kameshwar Baitha (who quit the JMM, JVM’s Ghuran Ram (former RJD MP) and RJD’s Manoj Kumar Bhuiyan whose boss Lalu Prasad is supposed to hold three public rallies tomorrow in Palamau.
In the morning, Modi flew in from Bihar to Jhumri Tilaiya in Koderma. He left for Bihar again by 2.15pm from Daltonganj in Palamau to address two meetings in Nawada and Buxar.