Nitish draws Hitler parallel, tells Modi: yours is language of fascism
Two days after facing the brunt of the attack at BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s “Hunkar” rally, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hit back on Tuesday, comparing Modi to Hitler and saying that his dream of unfurling the national flag at Red Fort would remain unfulfilled.
“You (Modi) are telling people ‘chun chun ke saaf karo’ (wipe them out one by one). You can win by getting votes, not by wiping them out... It is not just dictatorship, it is fascism, and those who believe in fascism, their icon is Hitler. They will do what Hitler did... The language of fascism will not work in a democracy,” said Nitish, addressing the JD(U) state convention in Rajgir.
“Hitler’s propaganda minister would tell a lie hundreds of times and it would seem to be true. The same thing is happening here now,” he said, adding that the talk about a Modi wave was part of this misinformation campaign. “His dream to unfurl the national flag at Red Fort will remain a dream,” he said.
“I was watching his speech live. He kept drinking a lot of water and wiping his sweat. I want to know why there is so much impatience. The man who aspires to occupy the highest post of the country has to be patient... why this unnecessary excitement and hurry?” said Nitish. While he dismissed Modi’s barb that he (Nitish) dreamt of becoming the Prime Minister too, he added, “even if one has such a dream, what is wrong with it?”
Targeting Modi’s brand of politics, Nitish asked why he wanted to create “hatred”. “I am told that half of the country’s ice cream is consumed by people in Gujarat, but I often wonder how one who eats sweet things can use such harsh language,” said Nitish.
“I appeal to Hindus and Muslims not to fight each other or engage in riots. The threat of fascism is looming. Get prepared to fight it, be ready to sacrifice your life,” he said.
Rejecting Modi’s accusation that he had “betrayed and backstabbed” socialist stalwarts like Jaiprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia, Nitish countered, “When have I deserted JP’s ideology? ... Lohia brought parties together to fight the Congress. BJP is walking its own path alone. Where is the comparison?” he said, accusing the BJP of weakening the fight against the Congress.
“It was pretty clear that BJP, being the largest party (in the NDA), would field its PM candidate. We wanted a person who could take everyone along... but the BJP thought it could do so all alone,” he said.
He said senior BJP leader L K Advani had called him up before the JD(U) left the NDA, and reassured him on Nitin Gadkari’s “promise” (on possible replacement of Modi as the BJP candidate). “I told him politely, Advaniji now people in your party are not listening to you so there is no basis to continue in the alliance,” he said.
“I am not worried about the consequences... One who is sleeping peacefully alone can be assured that his neck will not be slit. I have full faith in the wisdom of the people of Bihar and these poll surveys should be treated as entertainment,” said Nitish.
On Modi terming him as an “opportunist”, Nitish asked why the BJP did not snap ties in 2010. “I had told Sushil Kumar Modi that it would take one-and-a-half minutes for me to go to Raj Bhawan and tender my resignation. But you needed me then. And you call me an opportunist?” he said.
In his 90-minute point-by-point rebuttal, Nitish said that Modi, in his “excitement” had given wrong information on Bihar’s rich history. “It was said that Chandragupta belonged to the Gupta dynasty, while he is from Maurya dynastry,” said Nitish. “The BJP leader... said Taxila is a great historical site in Bihar, but it is in Pakistan... It was said that Alexander came till the banks of Ganga, but the fact remains that he was only able to reach Sutlej and had to return because of his failing health,” said Nitish.
Nitish also ridiculed Modi for invoking Lord Krishna to forge a connect between Yaduvanshi (Yadavs) and Dwarka in Gujarat. “First they tried to make Lord Rama their party worker, and they are now trying to do the same in the name of Lord Krishna,” he said.
Countering Modi’s claims of hosting him in Gujarat, Nitish said, “It was a dinner at a judge’s place where both of us were invitees”. He also denied Modi’s story of sharing a table with him at a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister. “Such a thing never happened... Jaise ye kahani banawati, hawa banawati... ye kudrati hawa nahi hai (Just as the story is false, the (Modi) wave too is artificial... it is not natural,” he said.
Taking on Modi for frequently playing the EBC card and harping on his early days as a tea vendor, Nitish said one does not become an EBC or OBC leader because of one’s caste of birth. “Charan Singh, V P Singh were not born in lower castes but still championed the EBC cause. Even I am from an ordinary background. My father was a freedom fighter,” he said.
On talks of a JD(U)-Congress alliance, Nitish said, “I am going to Delhi tomorrow to participate in an anti-communal rally in which leaders of about two dozen non-Congress and non-BJP parties will participate, but that has nothing to do with a third front or any other front.” He pointed out that the JD(U) had organised a “massive agitation against the Congress on price rise, which galvanised the opposition and shook the UPA”.
Announcing the party’s “Sankalp” rally as a direct response to BJP’s “Hunkar” rally, Nitish said special status for Bihar would be the party’s main poll plank in the 2014 elections. Modi had said that Bihar needs to “wait for just 200 more days to get it”.