Prime Minister Narendra Modi rakes up Bihar's past to project its future in his Patna rally, which was his third on Wednesday. He said, the days of the lantern were over, referring to better electric supply, as part of his 'vikas' agenda; at a metaphoric level, it was also a political dig, given the main opposition RJD's electoral symbol is a lantern.
“Atal ji(former Prime Minister) used to say that in Bihar in-bound supply of electricity is less while it vanishes more. The darkness of the lantern era is now over. Bihar’s aspirations now are of continued electricity supply, of LED bulbs,” said Modi sharing the stage with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as the crowd cheered for the PM and chanted his name.
This is not the first time he used the phrase ‘era of lantern’. Earlier, at a rally in Sasaram, the PM, in what seemed to be an effort to introduce first-time voters of Bihar to a bygone era, had said, “The need for lanterns in today’s Bihar is over. Today every poor household in Bihar has an electricity connection, there is light.”
The strategy of PM’s speeches today has been simple – highlight Bihar’s past to question Bihar’s future.
“Who can fulfil the aspirations of the poor and the middle class of Bihar? Those who looted Bihar, can they do it? Those who single-handedly thought of their families and did injustice to everyone will never realise Bihar’s expectations. Only the NDA can do it,” said the PM.
It was a mix of resurrection of Bihar’s fear psychosis of a bygone era of absolute lawlessness, a promise of a better future and highlighting dynastic politics.
Making a comparison with the COVID precautions, he said, just like people of Bihar can save themselves from COVID-19 by wearing a mask, they can also “save Bihar” from becoming ‘bimar’ with a single vote.
It was not the first COVID reference of the day, though for the Prime Minister.
Earlier in Muzaffarpur , in a dig at Tejashwi Yadav without naming him, Modi said, “You can imagine what will happen to the funds for COVID-19 if they come to power… What else can residents of Bihar expect from the ‘Yuvraj’ (prince) of ‘Jungle Raj’, given their past record?”
Meanwhile, a new video of firing and police baton-charge on devotees in Munger surfaced on Wednesday, giving the opposition fresh ammunition to attack the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar.
In the video, the devotees are seen having an altercation with the police personnel. Suddenly sounds of firing are heard and the devotees and those carrying the Goddess Durga idol lie on the road around the idol to save their lives. As the firing sound stops, a group of policemen arrive at the spot and thrash the devotees using batons. Some of the baton wielders are seen in civilian clothes.
Sources have said that some unidentified persons first fired at the devotees following which the police are also said to have fired in retaliation.
The incident happened in the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Chowk of Munger at 11.30 p.m. on Monday during the immersion procession of ‘Badi Ma Durga’ in Munger district. As per the tradition in Munger, the idol of Badi Ma Durga was transported by 32 persons called “Kahar” in local parlance till the bank of the river.
As the polling for all three constituencies of Munger district was in the first phase on Wednesday, the local administration wanted the rituals and the procession to be completed speedily. This led to an altercation between the police party and the devotees which soon turned violent. The police resorted to a lathi-charge in a bid to disperse the huge gathering, when shots were fired by some unidentified persons, said police.
According to the police, a person named Anurag Kumar (22) lost his life.
Meanwhile, Mahagathbandhan leaders have initiated a #Munger Narsanhaar campaign to attack the NDA.
Pawan Khera, the national spokesman of the Congress party said: “The PM is visiting Bihar for his election rallies. He should speak up on the heart-breaking incident and dismiss the Nitish Kumar government with immediate effect.”
After the new video surfaced, Kanhaiya Kumar, a Left party leader and former JNU president, demanded a judicial probe and quick action against the police personnel. He said that ‘as per the local residents four persons died in this incident’.
Tejashwi Yadav also slammed the Nitish Kumar government and hit out at the police also.
Chirag Paswan, the national president of the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), also targeted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said: “Munger incident gives impression of General Dyer’s Jalianwala Bagh incident. CM is playing the role of General Dyer and the SP of Munger Lipi Singh is a daughter of his closest friend. CM is directly involved in this incident.” (IANS)