Two days after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi described Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar as a “backstabber and betrayer”, it was Kumar’s turn to return the favour in equal measure.
The Bihar chief minister, on Tuesday, compared the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate with Adolf Hitler. He said, “Your Red Fort dream will remain a dream.”
At a state-level convention of the Janata Dal (United), Kumar hit out at his bête noire, saying a man aspiring to hold the highest political office in the country should be patient and also have sweetness in his voice. He said, “I have heard that Gujaratis have a sweet tooth and like a lot of ice cream. So, why are his words lacking in sweetness?” Kumar added, “Why were you sweating and drinking water while criticising me? Why so much impatience? A man aspiring to lead a country of 1.2 billion should be patient. You can create hype around an individual, but it cannot ensure his victory.”
He also denied any luncheon meeting with the PM where he had to sit with Modi. “This never happened. It is a false story. We all know what happened with a storyteller from Gujarat. Their claim to have a wave of support is as bogus as their story.”
He compared the BJP's repeated reference to a “Modi wave” with a fascist campaign. “Goebbels, an associate of Hitler, once said that if you repeat a lie 100 times, it will become a truth. This is what they are doing.” He described Modi’s language as “Fascist, not democratic”. “Those who believe in fascism are like Hitler.”
Kumar also cited several factual inaccuracies in Modi’s speech. He said, “I also happen to have some knowledge of history. I never left Jayaprakash Narayan and Lohia. They had also taken on these forces (BJP) and confined them to a corner. I have never compromised on my principles and always followed the path showed by JP and Lohia.”
Blaming the BJP for the break-up of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the chief minister said, "We have asked them to choose a leader who can unite everyone and work for the development of the backward states. However, they wanted to impose their agenda on us. It is wrong to blame us. You betrayed us. Nitin Gadkari promised me something, but, later they disposed of him. Later, (LK) Advani ji called me to pacify me, but I told him: ‘I am sorry Advani ji, nobody (in your party) listens to you now’. "
He also slammed Modi for highlighting that he belonged to a backward caste and used to sell tea at a railway station. "I don’t have any experience in selling tea at stations. I am the son of a freedom fighter. I am also from an ordinary background. One cannot be a backward leader by just being born in such a family. What you have done for the backward castes is important."