CM pens DNA war on Modi

Nitish comes up withcomplaint letter to PM

By Sankarshan Thakur
  • Published 5.08.15
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Nitish Kumar

New Delhi, Aug. 4: Nitish Kumar has decided to upscale his offensive against Narendra Modi's description of his DNA as "poor".

The Bihar chief minister intends writing to the Prime Minister tomorrow formally protesting the remark and blaming him for "insulting Bihari pride".

Sources close to Nitish told The Telegraph late tonight that the letter would first be published through his Twitter account and tagged directly to Modi's handle.

Later in the afternoon, Nitish will make himself available for two hours for a live and open question-answer session on Twitter. The chief minister also intends to hold a news conference on the issue on Thursday and launch what sources said would be "an all-out campaign" on the manner in which Modi had "wounded Bihari pride and sentiment".

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Nitish aide said: "We believe the Prime Minister's deliberate slur against the chief minister is no ordinary matter, the people of Bihar and their chosen leader have been slighted. We cannot let the matter lie uncontested. We will find new ways of raising the issue each day tomorrow on and keep harping on it day after day. This is our response to the BJP's jungle-raj campaign. They cannot get away with undermining Bihar and Biharis."

During his first campaign rally at Muzaffarpur on July 25, the Prime Minister had lit into Nitish's politics and said: " Iss aadmi kaa DNA hi kharab hai." (This man's DNA is poor.)

Narendra Modi

Nitish had responded with alacrity to Modi's punch, tweeting that in berating his DNA, the Prime Minister had berated the DNA of all Biharis. He had closed the tweet saying he was leaving it to Bihari people how to respond.

It is evident, Nitish has now resolved to amplify his own response and create a Bihari echo over "hurt pride". The augmented campaign on the DNA question carries strategist Prashant Kishor's unmistakable footprint - from Twitter and other social media platforms, to radio, television, print and street, the DNA issue is likely to overnight turn into the spine of Nitish's campaign against the Modi-led bid to conquer Bihar for the BJP in the forthcoming polls.

Kishor, who effected key aspects of Modi's spectacular 2014 campaign, switched sides and joined Team Nitish at the beginning of the year. For some months now, he has worked out of Nitish's official 7 Circular Road residence and occupies a room right opposite the chief minister's. He also has a 500-strong team from the newly created Indian People's Action Committee (IPAC) working 24x7 on Nitish's bid to retain power a third successive time in Bihar.

Sources in the IPAC said the plan was to "unleash a strong and highly visible drive" on the DNA issue during the days to come. "We want to ensure the Prime Minister is forced to respond to this," they said, "Whether he does or does not, the DNA remark will become one of the key themes of our campaign."

Modi is scheduled to address his second campaign rally in Gaya on August 9. Ahead of that, Nitish's DNA crusade would have swung into full gear, the sources indicated. They quoted Nitish as having told close advisers last week: "We are going to hammer hard on this, Bihar pride is nothing to trifle with, this is not a minor issue, the Prime Minister will have to answer to the Bihari people."

Meantime, it is also becoming apparent that the BJP's Lok Sabha MP from Patna Sahib, Shatrughan Sinha, is intent on needling his party's leadership in the poll-bound state. It is likely Sinha may make another appointment with Nitish around the time Modi is in Bihar next week.

Sinha, who is deeply peeved with BJP leaders for being "ignored and sidelined", had an unscheduled, but critically timed, meeting with Nitish on the night of Modi's first campaign outing on July 25. Emerging from his pow-wow, he had described Nitish as his "mukhiya" (headman) and a "very capable and front-ranking" leader.