“I am winding up my speech fast as I am sure, you all have come here to listen to ‘Aadarniya’ (Respected) Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said a sheepish Nitish Kumar, with folded hands, during a recent PM’s poll campaign.
Now compare this ‘desperation’ of Nitish with his 2010 Assembly poll ‘diktat’ wherein he reportedly told the BJP patriarch LK Advani that Narendra Modi need not come to Bihar at all for the election campaign, as “when we have our home-grown Sushil Modi, why should we have another Modi from another State?”
Such was Nitish’s antipathy towards Narendra Modi that he threatened to snap ties with the BJP if any attempt was made by the saffron camp to rope in Modi for the 2010 Bihar Assembly poll.
Narendra Modi did not campaign in Bihar in 2010. But he never forgot the humiliation he (then a Gujarat CM) suffered at the hands of the Bihar Chief Minister.
Ten years down the line, much water has flown down the Ganga. The ‘arrogant’ Nitish Kumar of 2010 has been desperately seeking Modi’s help to shore up the NDA numbers if he wants a direct fourth straight term as Bihar Chief Minister.
Nitish, who tore Modi to shreds in 2015 Assembly elections (when he was part of the Grand Alliance) whenever the Prime Minister made a hollow claim (like Rs 1.25 lakh crore Bihar package), now remains mum when the same Modi states that “Nitish could not work under UPA’s 10 years rule”.
Nitish never interjects Modi to remind him that it was the UPA govt that gave Bihar its first IIT in Patna, two Central Universities in Motihari and Gaya respectively, IIM in Gaya, several thousand kilometres of Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak (rural roads) and 80 per cent of the Bihar’s rural electrification drive under Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme.
“Nitish’s stocks are at an all-time low. He is facing a huge anti-incumbency factor. If there is anyone who could help him sail through, it’s Narendra Modi whose magic is intact. So why should Nitish oppose the PM even if he is saying something which is not true,” says veteran journalist Ashok Mishra, who has covered Bihar elections since the late 80s.
“Nitish always projected himself like a ‘big brother’ much to the discomfort of the BJP leadership. But the law of natural justice has eventually caught him. He is being targeted from three sides: The two young leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Chirag Paswan are breathing down his neck. And the ‘enemy within’ the BJP has left no stone unturned in cutting Nitish to size. So much so, that Nitish is desperate Modi helps him swim against the tide,” opined another political scientist Ajay Kumar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be campaigning for the NDA nominees in Bihar on Sunday (November 1), particularly North Bihar areas where the JD (U) wants to romp home but is on slippery ground.