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Now, Nitish seeks votes in Modi's name, not his own

May 12, 2019 10:19 IST

'In his election speeches, Nitish has been parroting Modi, praising him like never before.'
M I Khan reports from Patna.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi at an election rally.  Photograph: PTI Photo

IMAGE: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi at an election rally. Photograph: PTI Photo

Ahead of the final two phases in the Lok Sabha election in Bihar, one thing is clear: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar repeats Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi's chosen phrases and words like 'nationalism', 'terror', 'surgical strike', 'Pakistan' to seek votes for National Democratic Alliance candidates.

At each of his election meetings, Nitish Kumar reiterates, 'Modi ne Pakistan par surgical strike kar duniyabhar mein Bharat ka samman badhaya hai (By the surgical strikes on Pakistan, Modi has enhanced India's prestige in the world).'

Another set piece in Nitish's speeches these days is that under Modi, India has acted strongly against terror.

"In his election speeches, Nitish has been parroting Modi, praising him like never before, lauding his role and making everything sound as he is seeking votes in Modi's name, certainly not in his own name," says Amit Kumar, a political observer in Patna.

Amit Kumar, who has been studying Nitish Kumar after he first came to power in Bihar in November 2005, says the chief minister has surprised observers by his speeches this election cycle.

During the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 and Bihar assembly polls in 2015, Nitish Kumar sought votes in his name.

 

"This is the first time he is wooing voters in Modi's name. This is the first time Nitish Kumar is playing the Modi card after realising that his own popularity has fallen and his political credibility is at a low," Amit Kumar points out.

Political activist Ranjeev notes that Nitish Kumar speaks more about the Modi government's development model than about his own government in Bihar.

"'Under Modi's rule, Bihar has prospered in all directions. Modi has helped to develop Bihar.' This is what Nitish tells people during campaigning," says Ranjeev.

Nitish Kumar reminds audiences at his rallies that if Modi returned to power, Bihar would witness more development, more growth. The chief minister is silent about Modi's promises to Bihar made during the 2014 election campaign. Nitish Kumar was then one of Modi's opponents,

The sixth phase of the Lok Sabha election ends on Sunday, May 12, but Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United has not released its election manifesto so far.

Tejashwi Yadav, leader of the Opposition in the Bihar assembly, has repeatedly taunted the JD-U for not releasing its election manifesto, asking if Nitish Kumar had accepted the BJP's manifesto as the JD-U's own.

JD-U leaders say the decision not to release a manifesto is to avoid controversy. The JD-U disagrees with the BJP's positions on Article 370 and 35A, the Ram temple in Ayodhya and triple talaq.

Nitish Kumar has repeatedly said the JD-U favours consensus on the Ram temple and triple talaq issues.

M I KHAN in Patna
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