The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi delivered an adroitly crafted message to Bihar and India on Sunday before a huge crowd even as eight bomb blasts left five dead and 40 injured.
Modi’s Bihar essay — his first on a ‘politically unfriendly turf’ — was a litmus test. His articulation, message and delivery were under intense scrutiny. He, however, attacked rival after rival — the Congress, JD (U) and RJD — before a crowd estimated by the police special branch at more than 400,000.
“Gandhi’s Champaran satyagrah was to ensure a British-free India,” Modi said, adding “this Gandhi Maidan should today vow for a Congress-free India.”
He charged the UPA of failing to keep its 2009 poll promise of arresting price rise within 100 days of its coming to power. “Only a chai vendor (himself) could know about poverty, not rulers,” he said, and sought to confront the Muslim issue by asking “could poor Muslims and poor Hindus fight each other when all they all wanted was to banish poverty from their households?”
Attacking family and dynastic rule, caste and communal politics, opportunism and the practice of divide and rule, he said: “Such trends in national and Bihar politics are what have ruined India.”
Referring to his description of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as ‘shehzade’, he said, “I tell them today — you renounce dynastic rule and I will stop referring to them in such words.”
Modi also said it was Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s prime ministerial ambition that led to the split in the NDA.