PM invokes Bihari pride, sets the tone for elections
PATNA: In his address to the people of the state ahead of the October-November assembly elections, PM Narendra Modi on Sunday invoked ‘Bihari smita (Bihari pride)’ to catch the imagination of the people of all age groups, hoping that they would root for the NDA candidates in the assembly elections. For, if the NDA wins the elections this year, it would be the alliance’s third win in the state after 2005 and 2010. The BJP and its the then alliance partners had won only 58 of the 243 assembly seats in 2015, having lost to the Grand Alliance. On Sunday, the PM reserved the major part of his speech on the invocation of the Bihari pride, when he called the state a “powerhouse of talent” that now has several institutes of repute – like IIT, Chandragupta Institute of Management, two central universities, not to say of medical, engineering, IIIT and other institutes – to fire the imagination of youths, as they are purported to cater to the fulfilment of the dreams of aspirational Bihar. Indeed, the PM shed the traditional parameters of regional identity – like religion, language, history and culture – and instead presented the framework of developmental aspirations. He said the natural gas pipeline would help revive the fertilizer and crude oil refinery plants at Barauni (Begusarai) and the installation of the LPG bottling plants, CNG units and gas-based industries would bring “modern industries” to Bihar with a potential to transform it into a developed state. State BJP leaders like Anil Sharma and Pramod Chandravanshi hailed the PM for presenting the old idea of ‘Bihari Smita’. “This is a new thrust that the PM has given to the thinking of the people of the state. It will help the NDA win support of the people,” Sharma said. “There was a time when the rulers said the state did not require good metalled roads, as the poor did not walk on them!” the PM said, alluding to the frequently quoted statement of RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Addressing a virtual rally of JD(U) last week, even CM Nitish Kumar had asked his party workers to inform the new generation of the 15-year ‘misrule’ of the RJD.