Modi, Nitish fight it out

The feud between BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is getting bitter by the day and there seems to be no evidence that the two leaders are going to refrain from making personal comments against each other in the future too.

An interesting dimension to this ongoing feud is that it is aimed at consolidating vote banks of the two opposing sides.

Nitish hopes that his anti Modi stance will fetch him the crucial Muslim support in his state given that Lalu Prasad Yadav is in jail and the Congress has no option but to support the JD (U) if it decides to have a pre electoral tie up for the 2014 elections.

Congress support in fact is paramount for Nitish Kumar for getting Muslims on his side.

For Modi, the appearance in Patna’s hugely attended rally seemed to be a part of a bigger BJP plan.

At the Hunkar rally, Modi played his backward card, perhaps prompted by his party colleague Sushil Modi who too is a backward.

However, in the process, he chose to ignore the powerful Bhumihar community whose support is extremely crucial for any side to be on the victory podium.

Whether by design or inadvertently, Modi did not make any mention of the Bhumihar support and in fact did not even name party vice president CP Thakur who was on the dais. Instead, he took the names of party spokespersons, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain leaving the Bhumihars fuming.

It was obvious that the Gujarat chief minister was not properly informed about the community’s electoral importance and thus decided to overlook their role.

The Bhumihars incidentally are already cut up with the Congress and were too willing to back the BJP but are now in two minds. Bihar experts are of the view that if Modi does not make amends and makes up for his faux pas, the BJP, which is aiming to get 25 to 30 out of 40 seats in the state, may fall short of that mark.

Nitish, will obviously gain in that case and if he was to get the Muslim and the Bhumihar support in the caste dominated politics of Bihar, the result could be very disappointing for the BJP.

The RJD is also hoping to consolidate the Yadav votes but it is possible that the Yadavs may throw up another leader as Lalu is in jail and his political future looks bleak at the moment.

BJP’s Bihar rally was held in the backdrop of bomb blasts, which claimed six lives and left many injured.

After the Samastipur blast in which former Railway minister LN Mishra was killed in the mid seventies during a political rally, this kind of incident has never taken place in any political function.

The attack was indeed an assault on Indian democracy and those responsible must be brought to book as early as possible.

The blasts did show that there was laxity on part of the Bihar government in providing foolproof security at the venue. The state government must identify the erring bureaucrats and police officials and deal with them in an appropriate manner.

Nitish was attacked several times by Modi has described him as a megalomaniac and an authoritarian person in the mould of Adolf Hitler.

Though the BJP has not liked the criticism, similar charges from other politicians may follow. In their over enthusiasm to get at each other, political leaders must try to be civil in their public utterances and allow people to make their choices without any mudslinging vitiating the atmosphere.

The people of this country know who is what and will thus make the correct choice at the correct time.

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