Last election, says Nitish Kumar. Tejashwi Yadav, Chirag Paswan lead attack
“All’s well that ends well. The day after, there is voting. This is my last election. Will you vote for the JD-U candidate or not?” chief minister Nitish Kumar asked the people at Dhamdaha in Purnia during the last leg of his campaigning on Thursday. The third round of voting in Bihar polls will take place on November 7.
“The people of Bihar relied on me and my work for 15 years and I appeal to you to give your vote for the last time for the development of Bihar,” said CM Kumar while campaigning for JD (U) candidate Lesi Singh.
The surprise announcement came on the last day of electioneering at the last public meeting and it immediately set off wide speculations about the reason behind this utterance and opposition lapped it up as a sign of weakness on seeing the writing on the wall. Kumar is 69.
In the last phase, CM Kumar, burnishing his secular image, took a different line than the one used by BJP campaign leaders in the minority-dominated Seemanchal.
While UP CM Yogi Adityanath talked about driving away illegal immigrants during his rally in Seemanchal and union minister Giriraj Singh asked pointed questions to Congress and the RJD on the issue, CM Kumar made light of it, extolling the peace and amity during his regime. “Nobody can drive anyone away,” he added.
However, his statement that it would be his last election sparked off debates, with different interpretations from different quarters.
The opposition leaders were quick to prove a point. “Thankfully, Nitish ji has conceded defeat before the third phase of Bihar polls. Nitish ji and Modi ji have caused more harm to Bihar than anyone else in the past. Nitish babu should retire, he can share his good experiences with mahagathbandhan’s CM candidate,” said Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.
Grand alliance CM candidate Tejashwi Yadav said that his earlier comments that the CM should retire stands vindicated.
“We have been saying this for long that Nitish Kumar ji has worn out and he is not able to manage Bihar. Now on the last day of the election campaign, he has announced that he is taking retirement from politics, maybe he has understood the ground realities,” Tejashwi said in Patna.
Chirag Paswan of the LJP mocked Kumar again.
“If a leader runs away from the battlefield what will his people do? If he thinks that with this he will be able to escape a corruption investigation, then I won’t let it happen. If he’s found guilty, he will have to go to jail,” said Chirag, who has kept up his attack on the chief minister.
JD-U spokesman and minister Neeraj Kumar, however, defended the CM, saying he is known for speaking his mind. “He has often said that nobody is permanent. He has always walked the talk and Nitish Kumar is known for politics with a difference. He earlier left the chair of railway minister and chief minister. He lives for the people and that is what he has always done,” he added.
BJP leader and MLC Sanjay Mayukh said it was Nitish Kumar’s own decision. “But with people’s blessings, which has always been with him, he will again hold the chair for five years and after that he may decide,” he added.
Earlier today, LJP chief Chirag Paswan said the incumbent of 1, Aney Marg (CM residence) would have to vacate it on November 10 (the day results will be announced).
Talking to media persons, he did what he has done all through the last three months, attacking Kumar’s governance model, migration, prohibition and development schemes like ‘7 Resolves.
“When liquor is so easily available in a dry state, where is the money of smuggling going? When flood is an annual feature, where does the money go in the name of flood relief?” he asked.
JD-U and HAM-S for former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi wasted no time in hitting back. “Along with lantern, chirag (lamp) will also extinguish on November 10. He is trying to mislead the masses.
JD-U spokesman Rajiv Ranjan said that LJP was the B-team of RJD and it was behaving like that. “The results will show how people have discarded RJD-led alliance and once again showed their trust in the work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar. Chirag is a non-player in Bihar and he will realise it on the day of result. If it wins one or two seats, that will be more than enough for him,” he added.
HAM-S spokesman Danish Rizwan said that Chirag would have to resign from the post of LJP president after the results.
“He will lose the trust within his own party,” he added.
RJD leaders at Purnia declared it a political move of Nitish Kumar to take the people’s support emotionally. “When he failed to garner the support of the people in the elections, he announced this amidst campaigning,” senior RJD leader Kamal Kishor Yadav said.
Congress spokesperson BK Thakur also declared it a strategic move of Nitish Kumar to win the assembly elections.