The knives are out as soon as the alliance is off.
The BJP on Sunday began gathering ammunition for a frontal attack on Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, quietly releasing a speech reportedly made by him in Gujarat in December 2003 praising Narendra Modi as a potential national leader, a development-oriented politician and asking people move beyond the past.
The speech, significantly, came a year after the 2002 Gujarat riots. Modi was present when Kumar reportedly delivered the speech.
Speaking at Adipur, Kutch, while inaugurating a railway project on December, 2003, Nitish Kumar, then the Union railway minister, reportedly said, “I hope Narendra Modi won’t be confined to Gujarat for long and the nation will get his services.”
“I want to congratulate Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Lots of work has been done in Gujarat, but a different image about the state and about Narendra bhai has been created outside the state. The work in the state isn’t publicised the way it should be,” Kumar reportedly went on. “What happened (in 2002) was a blot. But it’s not good if we remember just that and forget other things that are happening.”
Kumar then praised Modi for the development work being undertaken in Gujarat.
“I congratulate Narendra Bhai. Gujarat’s development is helpful for India and if Gujarat develops the nation will also develop,” Kumar said, requesting Modi to speak.
The saffron party seems to have decided not to allow Nitish Kumar to play the secular card, and is looking to dent him seriously on this count.
“When there was tension in 2002 Nitish Kumar was with us. When there is peace now, he is parting with us,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.