A war of words broke out between the BJP and the Janata Dal-United on Saturday over Narendra Modi’s helicopter tour of blast victims’ homes.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar — whose JD-U ended a 17-year alliance with the BJP in June due to differences over Modi’s increasing prominence in the NDA’s scheme of things ahead of the 2014 elections — said, “People of Bihar have bought a large number of brooms on Dhanteras to sweep away trash sought to be dumped in this state from outside.”
Once again questioning the timing and agenda of Modi’s visit, he said, “No attempts are being spared to vitiate communal harmony.”
Nitish’s remarks came on the heels of the BJP’s Giriraj Singh, a former minister in his cabinet, calling him a “dehati aura (village woman) who protests too much”. He claimed it was the CM himself who was “vitiating” the atmosphere, adding, “The BJP won’t allow this to happen. It did not allow it to happen even after the blasts at Gandhi Maidan, where lakhs of BJP supporters were present.”
The JD-U’s Shivanand Tewari was quick to hit back: “The attempt at communalising the situation does not behove a person who has been named prime ministerial candidate by the main opposition party. We are not saying he should not come to Bihar. But the time he has chosen is not right.”
Tewari’s party colleague KC Tyagi questioned Modi’s security entourage from Gujarat, calling it an insult to Bihar. “It is naked aggression. He is behaving like a cruel invader from medieval times,” he said.
“We have been successful in stirring up self-respect among Biharis over the last few years. Some leaders, who till a few months ago praised the Bihar model of development, now hold a belief to the contrary,” Nitish said.
Meanwhile, Congress state president Ashok Kumar Choudhary asked, “Modi should not have been allowed in the state considering the already fragile communal situation in the wake of the BJP’s Asthi Kalash Yatra. Why is the state tolerating them?”