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Nitish fires fresh salvo at Modi

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has once again lashed out against his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi saying that the so-called wave in the favour of the latter was being created using the blower of communalism. Choosing the forum of the National Minorities Commission, the Janata Dal (United) leader on Friday equated recent Muzaffarnagar riots and the Bhagalpur riots (1989) with Gujarat riots of 2002 calling them blots on nation’s history.

‘A wave is being forced through a blower in India, but there is only one wave in the country and that is of unity,’ said Kumar while referring to the Modi wave in the country as claimed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. In his address the Bihar chief minister took subtle digs at Modi but without naming him once in his 30-minute speech.

The Bihar chief minister in his address did not mention the Muzaffarnagar riots much, but in his written speech he was very critical of the involvement of political class in the riots. ‘Some forces fan the fire of communal tensions in order to polarise the situation in their favour. This kind of political thinking completely stuns me. We must fight such forces with all the strength at our command and not allow their nefarious plans to succeed.’

Kumar while talking about development said that GDP cannot be the sole criteria to measure the growth of a state and one has to take every one along for the development of a state. ‘GDP can be high for many reasons, the question is how safe are people feeling, have their lives improved or not? One has to think about their health and education,’ said Kumar, in an apparent reference to the high growth rate that Modi mentions in his speeches.

The Bihar chief minister in his written speech also mentioned that the country needs good governance, but there can be no good governance if it is divisive or non- inclusive. ‘Of what use is the claim of good governance if in its wake it creates communal barriers and divides society,’ said Kumar in his speech.

Kumar in his written speech also talked about inclusiveness and said that this is directly contrary to that narrow and elitist thinking where development is interpreted to mean only the further strengthening of those already privileged.

The Bihar chief minister once again mentioned the tilak (vermillon mark on the forehead) and topi (cap) analogy and said that to run the country, one has to wear a topi and a tilak at times, in an apparent reference to Modi refusing to wear the skull cap offered to him by a Muslim cleric two years ago.
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