Aurangabad: An aggressive Rahul Gandhi ripped not only into political rival Narendra Modi today, but also parties associated with his BJP, like the Shiv Sena. He criticized Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar too, chiefly for his association with the BJP once upon a time.
Mr Gandhi brought up a sensitive issue, referring to the targeting in Mumbai of the large population of migrants from Bihar by the Shiv Sena, which partners the BJP. “Isn’t the Shiv Sena in the NDA? When you go to Mumbai, who beats you up? The Shiv Sena, the NDA,” said the Congress vice-president, who is seeking to reverse his party’s fortunes in Bihar with a brand new partnership with Lalu Prasad’s RJD.
But his first rally in Bihar in this election was a solo act. There was no leader from the RJD on stage as he spelt out his agenda for the state – a “Bihar model.”
Without naming Mr Modi, Mr Gandhi said Bihar did not need the “Gujarat model” that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister pitches as the prototype of his development agenda.
He also said that the BJP’s attempts at wresting back power at the Centre, were like sequels to the Bollywood hit “Dhoom.”
“In 2004, they raised the slogan ‘India Shining’…When the results came, the balloon burst. If there is ‘Dhoom’ – there is a trend to make sequels – there was Dhoom 2. In 2009, the BJP ran another India Shining campaign. Now they keep harping on the Gujarat model,” he said.
Mr Gandhi said about Nitish Kumar, “He says he is against communal forces . But when the Gujarat riots were on he was in the NDA. Now that the elections are here he is saying he is against communal forces.”
Mr Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) ditched the BJP last year in protest against Mr Modi’s growing stock in the party. The Congress hopes to make a dent in Mr Kumar’s core vote base of Muslims and backward castes.