Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday warned that Bihar's areas close to the borders (seemant) will become 'infested with infiltrators' if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not voted back to power.
Shah, widely regarded as the Bharatiya Janata Party's 'principal strategist', made the remark at a rally in Jhanjharpur parliamentary constituency, situated close to Nepal and Bangladesh.
The home minister, who spoke for close to 30 minutes, charged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad of pursuing 'appeasement politics' through measures like cuts in holidays of government schools.
"I would like to congratulate the people of Bihar for putting up a resistance that forced the state government to withdraw its order whereby holidays on Rakshabandhan, the festival of brothers and sisters, and Janmashtami, devoted to Lord Krishna, were done away with," said Shah.
The allusion was to the recent protests by teachers across the state which led the education department to withdraw the new calendar which was brought in with the aim of ensuring that classes were held for the requisite number of days in a year.
Continuing with the tirade against tushtikaran (appeasement), the home minister slammed the Congress, a partner in the state's ruling alliance, for dragging its feet on Ram temple at Ayodhya and Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Showering praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for abrogation of Article 370 and making possible the construction of the temple 'by January next year', the home minister, however, struck an alarming note.
"If the Lalu-Nitish duo (jodi) returns to power in Bihar and Narendra Modi does not come back as prime minister, the entire region will become infested with infiltrators (saara seemant kshetra ghuspaithiyon se bhar jaaega)," said Shah.
"In such a situation, many types of issues will arise in Bihar (anek prakaar ke sawaal khade honge). Do you want the area to be teeming with infiltrators," the home minister asked.
He, however, exuded confidence that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which performed well in Bihar in the last couple of Lok Sabha polls, will win 'all 40 seats' of the state in 2024.
Shah also slammed the INDIA coalition for the alleged denigration of 'Sanatan Dharma' and claimed that the Congress-led coalition did away with the previous name 'UPA' because it had been associated with 'scams involving Rs 12 lakh crore'.
"Some of the scams involved Lalu Prasad, who was then the railway minister, to which Nitish Kumar is now turning a blind eye for the sake of his prime ministerial ambitions," alleged Shah.
"But Nitish should know there is no vacancy for the post of the prime minister. His alliance with Lalu is like trying to mix oil with water. The oil does not get dissolved, but water gets contaminated," Shah remarked.
Shah also alleged while the chief minister was thinking of becoming the prime minister, his ally was busy making plans to help son (Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav) occupy the highest seat of power in the state.
The former BJP president began his speech with evocative salutations to goddess Sita, who is believed to have been discovered by King Janaka not very far from the venue of the rally.
The home minister, who slammed the INDIA bloc for alleged denigration of Bihar, underscored the benefits that were likely to accrue to Bihar under the Centre's Ramayana Circuit tourism scheme, which covers many districts of the state.
He also claimed that at the G20 presidency, the showcasing of Nalanda and Madhubani paintings were proof of the high esteem in which Modi held Bihar's heritage.
"It was at the instance of PM Modi that African Union was included in the G20. I have been travelling across the country since then. Young people feel proud of India's growing influence," claimed the Union home minister.
Charging the Nitish Kumar government with being in deep slumber (Kumbhkaran ki neend) as Bihar, particularly the Mithila region, were reeling under floods and lawlessness (jungle raj), Shah claimed the Modi government has so far given Rs 5.92 lakh-crore for various projects in Bihar, as against the UPA that spent less than half the amount.
Shah, who reached the venue by a chopper he took at Darbhanga, credited the Modi government for the airport at the north Bihar town and said an allocation of Rs 1,200 crore has been made to upgrade the one at Patna.
He also blamed the state government for the stalling of construction of AIIMS at Darbhanga 'which would have made Bihar a state with more than one such hospital (after Patna)'.
"The Nitish Kumar government had allotted a tract of land that was unsuitable for the project. Moreover, they have now taken the entire 81 acres back," alleged Shah.