Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "please consider taking back" his comments on his (Nitish Kumar's) so-called DNA.
The Janata Dal-United Leader raked up the DNA comment ahead of Modi’s three proposed public meetings in Bihar this month.
In an open letter released on Twitter, Nitish Kumar said Modi’s July 25 remark questioning his DNA was being seen as an “insult” by large sections of the people of the state and beyond.
“Most of us feel that these statements, beyond questioning my own descent, have disrespected the lineage of our people and have denigrated the great legacy of the state,” he said.
“This also gives credence to the feeling that perhaps you and your party hold a prejudice against the people of Bihar.
“Therefore, through this letter, I take the liberty to urge you to please consider taking back these words.
“I have no doubt that this gesture of yours would go a long way in assuaging the sentiments of the people and would further enhance the respect people have for you,” he said.
Addressing a public meeting in Muzaffarpur, Modi had said: “There seems to be some problem in his (Nitish Kumar’s) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy, you give respect even to your political rivals.”
Picking his words very carefully, Nitish Kumar said: “The issue has been troubling many of us since then.
“Now as you are scheduled to visit the state again, I am writing to you on behalf of those who have felt hurt by your statement.
“Most of us also feel that coming from you, the comment is rather unbecoming of the office you hold.”
The chief minister also cautioned Modi that such comments weakened the collective faith of people in his leadership.
“I am a son of Bihar. My DNA is the similar as that of the people of Bihar,” he said, reiterating that his father was a freedom fighter and his mother a housewife. “I grew up in a humble household in rural Bihar.”
Nitish Kumar pointed out that this was not the first time such comments were made.
He said former BJP president and now central minister Nitin Gadkari had remarked earlier that casteism was in the DNA of Bihar.
BJP leaders are busy preparing for Modi’s public meetings in Gaya (August 9), Saharsa (August 18) and Bhagalpur (August 30).
But the BJP and its allies criticised Nitish Kumar instead. “What Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Muzaffarpur (on July 25) was in the context of democracy. Nitish Kumar should not equate his personal arrogance with identity of Bihar,” union minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a press conference here.
He said that the people of Bihar were interested to know about the performance of the JD-U and Rashtriya Janata Dal during their respective rule but they were instead running away.
Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party president Ramvilas Paswan termed Kumar’s letter an “election gimmick”.
“Inviting someone over a dinner and cancelling it at the same time is not a reflection of the DNA of Bihar. People of Bihar will teach a lesson to Kumar in the coming assembly elections,” Paswan told reporters outside parliament.
Paswan was referring to the 2010 incident when the Bihar chief minister cancelled a dinner for BJP leaders, including the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
Another union minister Upendra Kushwaha said Modi had not said anything wrong. “It is the habit of Kumar to ditch people. He ditched George Fernandes, Jitanram Manjhi and many more,” Kushwaha said. (IANS)