Modi’s anti-Nitish rhetoric perks up Bihar BJP leaders

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In a pep talk to BJP leaders in Bihar delivered through a conference call on Saturday, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying those who “betrayed” the BJP will be defeated by the people of the State.

“There is a 1974-like anti-Congress wave prevailing in the country now. The mandate of the people of Bihar was for the NDA. Like then [in 1974], those who betrayed the people’s mandate in Bihar will be taught a lesson,” Mr. Modi said, without taking the name of Nitish Kumar. The Bihar Chief Minister, who has been opposed to Mr. Modi’s style of politics, dumped the BJP after his elevation as election campaign chief last month.

Mr. Modi talked to the BJP leaders over their mobile telephone through audio bridge technology. A total of 1,500 leaders across the State were chosen, and they were divided into three groups. He talked to five leaders of each group.

Among those Mr. Modi talked to were the former Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Modi; Ashwani Chaube, who was stranded in Uttarakhand for some time; BJP State vice-president Sanjay Mayuk; and MLAs Nitin Narain and Vijay Singh.

BJP president Mangal Pande told Narendra Modi that everyone was talking about the possibility of his becoming prime minister. Mr. Modi apparently laughed away the suggestion and said price rise was now emerging as a major issue and BJP workers should work hard to fight the Congress-led Central government on this and other issues.

Sushil Kumar Modi said the Gujarat Chief Minister highlighted the old bond between Gujarat and Bihar and said there cannot be one model of development for the whole country.

“Even in Gujarat, there are a few places which are less developed than others, for which we have to pay special attention,” he quoted Narendra Modi as having said.

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