Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday launched a blistering attack apparently aimed at BJP mascot Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial campaign, writing it off as mere hype and little else.
“Blower chal raha hai. Aap log samaj rahe hai ye kudrati hawa hai, lekin hawa blower se dee ja rahi hai (There’s a blower at work. You might think this wind is real, but it’s coming from a blower),” he said.
Without naming Modi, but referring to the “good governance” model being epitomized by him, Kumar said: “There can be no good governance if it is divisive and non-inclusive. The truth is that any government that is not inclusive is a danger to India. You cannot lead India by crushing others,” he said.
Delivering the National Commission for Minorities’ annual lecture on Friday, titled “The Idea of India”, Kumar help up diversity and welfare of all sections, including minorities, as the only way.
“You have to first believe in unity in diversity and only then can you preserve it. Diversity is not our problem, it’s our beauty.”
The speech, with shafts of sarcasm, was in many ways his “idea” of India versus Modi’s. “Bihar has seen the highest growth rates in the country. We did not achieve high economic growth rates and other achievements at the cost of inclusive goals,” he added.
Kumar repeated his famous remark on the need to “respect symbols”.
“You have to wear a skullcap at times, and sport a tilak too. Nobody should feel left out.”
Terming the Muzaffarnagar riots a “blot”, Kumar said attempts were being made to foment sectarian tension in his state too. “We need to ask who is responsible and why does this happen.”
He said the only way you can control communal violence was by “constant vigil” and with “minimum response time and immediate action”.
Supporting special schemes for minorities, the Bihar chief minister said equal opportunities would not work if society was fundamentally unequal.
“It’s not enough to have an equal playing field. You cannot make a ill-fed and weak child run alongside a healthy one and still expect the weaker child to win.”
“It was the same approach that made us to take up a host of programmes for the minorities. From the very beginning the State government has given emphasis on the educational development of the students of the minority communities. That is why today only a meagre 1.68 per cent of the children of the minority community between the ages of 6 to 14 are out of school,” Kumar said.