PATNA, May 10: Bihar chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar’s move to share a dais with his Gujarat counterpart Mr Narendra Modi at a NDA rally in Ludhiana today has surprised many in the Bihar, with some ~ including some of his party MPs, Muslim organisations and the Opposition ~ reacting sharply to his decision.
Strangely, Mr Kumar ~ just before the four-phased LS polling began in Bihar ~ had decided not to share the dais with Mr Modi, whom the Muslims hold primarily responsible for the 2002 Godhara riots, during the campaigning in Bihar and he, according to media, even asked the BJP not to engage him in campaigning here apprehending that could affect JD-U’s prospects.
“It’s ironic that Nitish Kumar, who repeatedly announced that he would not be sharing a dais with Modi during his campaigns, clasped each others hands at a rally shortly after the Lok Sabha polls have come to an end in Bihar. His double-standard stands exposed now”, JD-U MP Mr Ejaj Ali told The Statesman today. “Nitish Kumar ke do chehare hain; shobha nahi deta”, he remarked. He lambasted the chief minister for reneging from his earlier stand stating: “It was Nitish Kumar who had earlier announced not to allow Modi campaign in Bihar, and said that he had nothing to do with the Ram temple agenda of the BJP and later asserted there is a full stop on giving his party support to BJP over the issue of prime ministership beyond Mr Advani”.
“What, could have prompted him to share a dais and shake hands with Modi who is murderer of humanity and whom the Muslims cannot forgive for the Godhra riots?” he asked adding he would have been a hero had he fought the elections alone.
The All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaj (AIPMM), a forum of Dalit and backward Muslims, too reacted against Mr Kumar’s move saying he would have to explain now under what circumstances he changed his position overnight. “He (Mr Kumar) sought votes telling the Muslims he does not like Narendra Modi but once the polling was over in Bihar, he reached Punjab to shake hands with the perpetrator of Godhra riots. He has cheated the Muslims, played with their sentiments”, alleged the AIPMM national president Mr Salim Pervez. “He is doing the same thing that Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav have done. Nitish will have to explain what compelled him to backtrack from promise he made to the Muslims,” Mr Pervez who is pitted against the RJD chief, Mr Lalu Prasad in Saran on BSP ticket said. “I don’t want to condemn his action. The people themselves have a pretty good idea of what kind of a person he is,” he said.
The Opposition ~ RJD ~ too went hammer and tongs at the CM for his move and said his character stands very much exposed now. “To gain votes of the minority, he announced not to share dais with Modi but see how he shook hands with the latter now that elections are over in Bihar”, was how the RJD’s national spokesman Mr Shyam Rajak reacted in a strongly-worded statement issued to the Press today. “Nitish Kumar ki pol khul gayi hai… unaki kathni-karani mein fark hai (Nitish Kumar stands exposed now and his saying does not match with his doing)”, he said. He asked the chief minister to resign to repent for his action.
The change in his stand comes barely a month after he publicly announced how he hates his Gujarat counterpart. “Not at all. Why should I?” Mr Kumar had told the media on 7 April, a week before the LS polls began in Bihar, when asked if he would share a dais with Mr Modi.
Shortly before that on 2 November last year, the chief minister had skipped the NDA’s “show of strength” rally at Sonipat in Haryana and returned from New Delhi when he was informed several hardline Hindu leaders from Shiv Sena and BJP including Mr Modi will be attending the rally. Strangely, he was among the listed speakers at the NDA’s Vijay Sankalp rally attended among others by Mr Advani, Mr Rajnath Singh, Mr Om Prakash Chautala and Mr Prakash Singh Badal, Punjab chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader. Reports had it that the Bihar chief minister had even reached New Delhi to attend the rally organised over the issue of terrorism but in the mean time the RJD reached the Press telling how the former was going to share dais with Shiv Sena leaders who attacked Biharis in Maharashtra and also with Mr Modi who was involved in Godhra riots. Apprehending his move could boomerang with the LS polls round the corner, the chief minister returned from New Delhi saying he had no idea that hardline Hindutva leaders were to attend the rally. He later authorised the JD-U chief Mr Sharad Yadav to attend the rally.