Amit Shah’s visit has set off political fireworks in Bihar.
The BJP’s Amit Shah, in Bihar today, visited the village of Jayaprakash Narayan, the socialist icon who led a movement in the 1970s which gave the country many of its current leaders. One of them is Nitish Kumar, who left the path shown by JP and has changed sides “five times” for power, Mr Shah declared in Sitab Diara, setting off a verbal duel with the Chief Minister. Mr Kumar initially brushed off Mr Shah’s remarks, accusing the BJP’s chief strategist of ignorance not only of the JP movement, but also of his home state Gujarat. Then he scaled up the attack, reminding the people yet again about the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
“I want to ask the people of Bihar. One who used the name of JP have now bypassed the principles of JP and is now sitting on the lap of the Congress for the sake of power. Do you agree with this?” he questioned the audience in a function organised by his party to mark the birth anniversary of JP.
“This is not the path showed by Jayaprakash. Jayaprakash ji made no effort to gain power all his life. He only stood by his principles. Now people who changed sides five times for the sake of power, are sitting on the Chief Minister’s chair. Now the people of Bihar have to decide whom they want — the BJP which walked the path shown by Jayaprakash, under the leadership of Modi, or the others who quit the path shown by Jayaprakash to chase power,” he told the gathering.
जेपी का नाम लेकर राजनीति में आये लोग अब पांच-पांच बार पाला बदलकर जेपी के सिद्धांतों को दरकिनार कर चुके हैं।
और आज सत्ता सुख के लिए उसी कांग्रेस की गोदी में बैठ गए हैं। pic.twitter.com/cGH5XXH8gq
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) October 11, 2022
Asked about his comments, Mr Kumar urged reporters to “let it go”.
“What does he know anyway? How long has he been in politics? How much does he know about his own state? They got a chance only since 2002… When did the JP movement happen? It was in 1974. They keep saying whatever they like. Let it go. Let them say whatever they want,” Mr Kumar told reporters before a public meeting in Patna.
“जेपी आंदोलन के समय कहां थे #AmitShah…”: गृह मंत्री के ट्वीट पर बोले #NitishKumarpic.twitter.com/y8vaXIx9fm
— NDTV India (@ndtvindia) October 11, 2022
During the address, he brought up the Independence movement.
“Who fought the battle for Independence? Now they want to change things. The people who had nothing to do with the Independence movement. It was Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) who led the movement for Independence… Think who killed Bapu. This is why one should not be involved with those people,” he told his audience.
Mr Shah’s visit, as expected, has set off political fireworks in the state. Ahead of the visit, Mr Kumar’s Janata Dal United has claimed that he comes to upset the communal equilibrium. “Amit Shah will come and across the country and in Bihar, he will try to spoil communal harmony. He will make no headway,” JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan had said.
“Entire Bihar knows what’s his (Amit Shah’s) real purpose. It needs no saying. The moment you take his name, the entire country starts talking about his work,” added ally Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and Mr Kumar’s Deputy Tejashwi Yadav.
The BJP has been trying to devise a new game plan after Nitish Kumar ended his alliance with the party. In 2019, the BJP managed to add 39 seats from the state to the NDA bag. The break-up has placed a question mark on its gains from the state in 2024.
Mr Kumar’s new alliance has mopped up all the big and small parties, leaving out only the vertically split Lok Janshakti Party. There too, Chirag Paswan, who is the leader of one faction, is hugely upset with the BJP.
Politically isolated, the BJP is trying to make a comeback — with a face that can challenge Nitish Kumar. The party plans to start off with a series of “pol khol (unmask)” Nitish Kumar rallies across the state.
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