Arch rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav agree on one thing
Patna – Narendra Modi has done the unimaginable. Brought arch Bihar rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav to the same side of an argument.
Both insist that in this election there is no “Modi wave.” (In Nitish Kumar’s presence, partyman says he will ‘bury Modi’)
Dismissing opinion polls that predict a win for Mr Modi’s BJP in the ongoing general elections, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal United said, “Most of these surveys are sponsored and every survey is affected by the previous one. All these surveys will fail; they always have failed and this time they will do so very badly”
“There is no Modi wave, “declared Lalu Yadav, who heads the Rashtriya Janata Dal, insisting that the crowds Mr Modi draws come to see him out of “curiosity.” (Lalu Prasad says ‘no Modi wave in Bihar’)
Mr Kumar and Mr Yadav are both part of the band of critics who accuse Mr Modi of not doing enough to prevent the riots in his state Gujarat in 2002, and continue to attack him despite a Supreme Court inquiry finding no merit in allegations of complicity against him, a clean chit also accepted by a court.
The BJP, which played junior partner to the JD(U) in Bihar for years, not only comes back as a major player in these elections, but is also seen as the frontrunner. (NDTV’s Opinion Poll: in Bihar, Nitish Kumar is hurting badly)
Pollsters say Mr Kumar could be punished for engineering the split with the BJP in June last year after the latter projected Mr Modi as its face for the 2014 elections. Mr Kumar says he does not regret his decision made “on the basis of our principles.”
He also has to contend with Mr Yadav’s alliance with the Congress – there are indications that large sections of Muslim voters, 17 per cent of the electorate, could put their weight behind the RJD-Congress-NCP combine. Mr Kumar, who counts heavily on the support of Muslim voters, has rejected such reports. (Lalu labels Nitish-Modi as ‘bosom friends’)
An NDTV opinion poll conducted earlier this month gave only four seats to the JD(U). The party is expected to finish a poor third, after the BJP and Lalu Yadav’s alliance. In 2009, the JD(U) had bagged 20 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats; partner BJP had won 12.