Nitish takes Lalu’s Rajgir barb in stride, questions RJD chief’s mental balance
“If my ‘Samadhi’ (tomb) comes up at Rajgir, the erstwhile capital of Magadh empire, there can be nothing more gratifying than that. It will be an honour,” Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said in Patna on Monday.patna Updated: Nov 06, 2017 20:20 IST
Caught in the midst of a ‘below the belt” slanging match, chief minister Nitish Kumar, on Monday, chose to see a silver lining in friend-turned-foe, RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s barb that he (Nitish) will have his “Samadhi” (tomb) at the south central Bihar resort town of Rajgir.
“The prediction, whatever may be its intent, is a matter of great contentment”, Kumar said. He was speaking to reporters soon after the conclusion of his weekly governance feedback programme, the “Lok Samvad”.
The chief minister said Rajgir had always been close to his heart because of its historical importance and scenic natural surroundings. “If my Samadhi comes up at Rajgir, the erstwhile capital of Magadh empire, what can be more gratifying than that. It will be an honour,” he said.
This was in reply to Prasad’s remark on Sunday that Kumar could have gone to any other place, but preferred Rajgir for his sudden sojourns. “It seems that his grave will come up in Nalanda district (in which Rajgir is located).
The RJD chief’s observation was part of an ongoing RJD-JD (U) mud-slinging and “photo war” that erupted after former deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav released the selfie of a hooch tragedy accused with Nitish Kumar last week.
Actually, the ‘Rajgir Samadhi’ barb dates much earlier, when Prasad sought to corner Kumar for leaving the state capital on the plea for recuperating from his illness when the CBI carried a raid on 10, Circular Road—the official residence of Tejashwi and former CM Rabri Devi.
“Be wary of his Rajgir visit, as it is an indicator that something-odd is about to happen,” Prasad had warned then.
While sparing “bade bhai” Prasad on this issue, Kumar was severe in terming the war of words and accusations as “bakwas” (nonsensical) and “ghatia” (below standard)—a level to which he had never stooped during his 43 year-long political career.
“This is indicative of his mental balance, which has taken a beating by his self created problems,” he said about Prasad.
“But I am happy to break alliance with such people,” chief minister said, while referring to his decision to jettison the ‘grand alliance’ (GA), of which Prasad’s RJD was a part, to join hands with the BJP in July in “Bihar’s interest”, adding that it had become difficult to run the erstwhile GA government.
Those out of power have been “restless and angry”, the CM said about his former GA allies.
“They are hit by the crackdown on illegal liquor trade and sand mining and are indulging in dirty politics by blaming and targeting me. It is Patna DM who exposed toilet scam, while Bhagalpur DM got a whiff of Srijan scam. I brought it in public domain. But I will restrain party spokespersons from reacting on ‘personal attacks’ against me. It is not worth it,” he said.
Kumar also questioned the “appropriateness” of criticisms of demonetization and GST by non-NDA parties. “The proposal for the new tax regime was brought by UPA and the note ban is an important step against black money,” he said while dismissing the protests as misplaced.
To a question regarding the quota demand of Patidars, he said, “I stand by my support. It is our firm belief that the roots of such demands lie in the agrarian crisis, as those opposing quotas are now seeking redemption in it.”