Hours before campaigning for the final round of voting in the five-phase assembly elections ended in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cautioned the state against “kanphukwa” (rumour mongers) who may “try to incite communal passions by breaking idols and leaving dead pigs near religious places”.
Urging voters to turn out in large numbers to vote for the “self-respect of Bihar” and the Grand Alliance that he heads, Nitish raked up Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘DNA’ remark.
“You have to choose between a Bihari and a Bahari (outsider). A Bihari is standing before you, just say goodbye to the Bahari. I am not an ahankaari (arrogant) but a Bihari. I know how to protect my self-respect. I received the Prime Minister during his Bihar visit but at Muzaffarpur he said there was something wrong with my DNA,” he said at a public meeting in Hayaghat in Darbhanga.
“If my DNA is faulty, why have you elected me Chief Minister twice. Modiji is the Prime Minister and must not use the kind of language he used against me and Bihar. He is the country’s Prime Minister. People have given him the mandate, he is also my Prime Minister. It is below the dignity of his post to use such vocabulary,” he said. The Prime Minister and BJP ministers, Nitish said, had in the last few months made Patna look like the national capital rather than the state capital. “Prime Minister Modi would return to Delhi after every rally and come back to Bihar the next day. The PM is having sleepless nights these days and wants to somehow usurp Bihar.” He told the gathering that the “Bahari” would not be seen in Bihar after the elections. Seeking votes for partner RJD in Keoti which has fielded Faraz Fatmi against the local BJP MLA, Nitish said: “Voters may remember me and look for the arrow symbol of my party. But you have the lantern symbol in Keoti. The lantern is also my symbol.” Cautioning people against attempts to stoke communal trouble, he said: “Prem aur sadbhav banaye rakhiye. Tarah tarah log jhagda lagane ki koshish karenge, ek kanphukwa ghoom raha hai. Sama mein jahar gholne ki koshish karenge, haddi phek denge, murti tod denge, mara suar phek denge dharmik sthalon ke paas. Inke uksane se sachet rahiyega (Maintain harmony and peace. People will try to create trouble of every kind. A rumour monger has been doing the rounds. Attempts will be made to poison the atmosphere by throwing bones, breaking idols, leaving dead pigs near religious places. Remain alert, do not get provoked).” The final round of voting will take place Thursday in the regions of Kosi, Mithila and Seemanchal where the population of Muslims is considerable. There are 57 seats across nine districts and the Grand Alliance is counting on the votes of Muslims and Yadavs. The EBCs and Dalits seem torn between the two camps.