BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi once again attacked his arch rival and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in the latter's home turf by calling him a hypocrite and saying the state had become a safe haven for terrorists.
BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan wave at the crowd during the Hunkar rally in Muzaffarpur. (PTI Photo)
Without naming Nitish, he said the Bihar chief minister was a "hypocrite" who met him with affection in a closed room and ate together but feared shaking hands in public. "People pardon your mistakes but not hypocrisy," he said.
Video: Ram Vilas Paswan hails Modi; says Gujarat riots happened 12 years ago
The Gujarat CM compared Nitish's "hypocrisy" with foe-turned-friend Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan's "openness".
"Ram Vilas Paswan remained courteous after leaving the NDA. He didn't shy away from being photographed with me," Modi said.
Paswan, who broke up with Lalu Prasad-led RJD, returned to the NDA after 12 years. He had left the BJP-led NDA in 2002, criticising Modi's handling of the communal riots in Gujarat in which more than 1200 people, most of them Muslims, had been killed.
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Like Modi's rally in Patna in October last year, where 7 people were killed in serial blasts in the vicinity of the venue, today's rally was also named as Hunkar, battle cry.
"Hunkar is not to show others in poor light, but to work for rights and for the good of the country and to replace a defunct leadership," Modi said.
He said "those who talked of secularism" were willing to condone the damage done to India by anti-nationals by focusing their energies on "stop-Modi" mission.
Read: Nitish Kumar terms BJP-LJP alliance 'unprincipled'
"It is a shame they can't take up the challenge to fight terrorism. It was an issue which should have united political groups, but that has not happened," he added.
Bihar has become a haven for terrorists due to vote bank politics of the government which has not adopted tough policies against them to appease some people, Modi said.
"You may not like Modi or BJP but those who died in the blasts were also from Bihar," he said.
On the alliance with Paswan, he said the NDA is going to grow by the day and the worries of others are going to grow too. "They used to call BJP Bania-Brahmins party. They are surprised that a man from a backward caste is the PM nominee."
Read: It's official: Paswan returns to NDA after 12 years
Paswan's entry into NDA is expected to swing 5% dalit vote. He has been offered seven Lok Sabha seats to contest in the state.
Modi also criticised the Third Front, which he dismissed as the one "that crops up every five years and whose job appears to be saving the Congress". The Third Front, he said, only sows confusion.
In his speech, Paswan declared he was committed to making Modi as the next prime minister of the country.
"There is a strong Narendra Modi wave in the country. And caste no longer seems to be a factor. All sections of society consider Narendra bhai as the best leader… he also comes from a poor family," said Paswan.
"People are looking up to you. It is a fact that in the past 12 years there has not been a single incident of communal violence in Gujarat, while communal tensions flare up every now and then in Bihar."
Taking a dig at both Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his former partner Lalu Prasad, he said, "Both used to certify me as a good man, but after I joined the NDA, I have become a villain."
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