Narendra Modi kicks off Bihar elections campaign; rakes up Article 370

PM Modi raked up the issue of annulment of Article 370 which bestowed special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir | Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched his campaign for the Bihar Assembly elections with three back-to-back rallies where he castigated the opposition over its stand on repeal of Article 370 and reminded the people of the 15-year reign of “crime” and “loot” under the RJD.


Modi addressed rallies in Rohtas, Gaya, and Bhagalpur districts, where he shared the stage with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and excoriated the Congress-led Opposition for adopting a contrarian position on “any step taken in national interest”.


The prime minister counted abrogation of Article 370, the law against triple talaq, commencement of construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, and military operations at the borders among the steps taken in national interest which the opposition frowned upon.


Appealing to the nationalistic zeal of the electorate, Modi raked up the issue of annulment of Article 370 which bestowed special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.


"You tell me, was not the country waiting for Article 370 to be scrapped? When the NDA government did that, they are talking about restoring the provision if they are back in power.


"Still they have the audacity to come and seek votes in Bihar which sends its sons and daughters to protect the nation. Is it not an insult to the people of Bihar?" he told an election rally at Dehri-on-Sone in Rohtas district.


Referring to the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese troops, Modi said the sons of Bihar laid down their lives for the tricolour but did not let "Mother India bow her head".


The soldiers of Bihar were also martyred in the Pulwama attack, he said.


True to form, Modi commenced his speeches at Dehri, Gaya and Bhagalpur by greeting the people in the local dialects Bhojpuri, Magahi and Angika respectively.


The prime minister began his address at the first rally in Rohtas by paying tributes to late Ram Vilas Paswan, a member of his cabinet, and former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh who died a month ago shortly after burning bridges with Lalu Prasads RJD.


Paswan's son Chirag, the LJP president who has pulled out of the NDA vowing to dislodge Kumar from power while proclaiming his loyalty to Modi, profusely thanked him for the gesture and tweeted: "As a son, it is natural for me to be moved by the respect and love shown by the Prime Minister for my deceased father".


Modi did not name Chirag but referred to the "confusion" being sought to be created by some people.


"But there is a good trait among Biharis and that is clarity. They don't get confused," he said.


Modi reminded the electorate rally after rally to vote for the candidates of JD(U), BJP, HAM and VIP that constitute the NDA in Bihar.


Without naming any opposition party, he said, their protests against the recent farm reform laws were in fact aimed at "saving" middlemen and brokers in the garb of backing the Minimum Support Price regime and agriculture 'mandis'.


They had spoken the language of middlemen and brokers even when the Rafale fighter aircraft were bought, he said, asserting that India will not back off from the decisions it has taken.


While speaking of various development initiatives of the NDA governments at the Centre and in the state, he spoke of frequent heinous crimes like "murders, dacoity and extortion" under the 15-year rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD and said people can now live without any fear. "The people of Bihar cannot forget the era when life would come to a standstill after sunset. Today, roads, electricity and lights are there. The biggest thing is that a common man in the state can live without fear," he said.

Rahul trades barbs in rival rally


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having "insulted" the soldiers with his comment that nobody had intruded into Indian territory in Ladakh, and also alleged that his government did not help the migrant workers from Bihar during the lockdown. Addressing his first poll rallies in the state, Gandhi said the BJP's election promise of providing 190,000 jobs is akin to its pledge of depositing Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts of the people. Raising the China issues at his both rallies he said the Chinese army had indeed intruded into the Indian territory, and the prime minister should tell the country when they will "be thrown out".

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