‘The question Modiji is when will you throw out the Chinese soldiers sitting inside India,’ Congress leader asks
Shaheen Nazar | Clarion India
IT was like a clash of titans in Bihar on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his main challenger in the opposition, Rahul Gandhi, chose the same date to reach out to the voters of Bihar just five days before the first phase of state assembly elections.
Apparently, short of local issues to target the opposition in Bihar which is jointly ruled by his Bharatiya Janata Party and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) for the last 15 years, Modi chose to touch Bihari pride by referring to the sacrifices of army jawans from the state on the Chinese border and also rake up the emotive issue of the abrogation of Article 370.
“The sons of Bihar lost their lives in the Galwan Valley for the sake of the Tricolour and ensured that Mother India’s head is held high. Bihar’s jawans were also martyred in the Pulwama attack (in February 2019). I bow my head at their feet and pay my respects,” said Modi while addressing his first-ever rally in Sasaram, with Nitish by his side.
Gandhi was listening to him just 150 km away in Nawadah. He thundered: “Today the Prime Minister said he bowed his head in front of those soldiers who sacrificed their lives. The whole country bows its head in front of the soldiers from Bihar who did this, but that is not the question, the question is what the Prime Minister said and did when Bihar’s young soldiers were sacrificed?”
He accused Modi of insulting the soldiers. “The question is that when the Chinese Army martyred 20 of our soldiers and took over 1,200 square kilometres of our land, why did the Prime Minister then insult our braves and said no one came inside India?” asked Rahul.
Continuing his attack, the Congress leader said, “Today he says he is bowing down his head, but Narendra Modi insulted the country’s Army when he falsely said no Chinese soldiers came inside India. The question Modiji is, when will you throw out the Chinese soldiers sitting inside India? Don’t talk about bowing your head, talk about when the Chinese will be thrown out of the country.”
Another topic that the Prime Minister brought in was withdrawal of the special status to Kashmir. Referring to the criticism of his government’s move, he targeted the opposition. “The NDA government abrogated Article 370. These people say they will bring it back if they come to power. After making such statements, they dare to ask for votes from Bihar? Is this not an insult of Bihar–the state which sends its sons and daughters to the borders to protect the country?”
Significantly, he made the statement in the presence of Nitish Kumar, an ally who initially had opposed the repeal of Article 370 and his JD(U) MPs had even opposed the Bill in both Houses of parliament when it was put to vote in August 2019. However, Nitish Kumar changed his stance within days. His party leaders said it had opposed the move as it had not been consulted, but since it had become law, the party would support it.
Unlike the Prime Minister who reminded Lalu Prasad’s alleged misrule 15 years back, the Congress leader had several questions to ask the state and Central governments like the problems being faced by farmers, small traders, lack of jobs, demonetisation, etc. “Don’t lie to Biharis, Modi Ji. Did you give jobs to Biharis? Last elections, the PM promised 2 crore jobs, no one got them. In public, he says I bow my head to the Army, farmers, labourers and traders. But once he reaches home, he only works for Ambani & Adani,” Gandhi charged.
Like Nitish Kumar in Sasaram, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejeswi Yadav, Congress Party’s main ally in ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance), was present alongside the Gandhi in Nawadah.
Assembly elections in Bihar will be held in three phases–October 28, November 3, and 7, and the counting of votes will take place on November 10.