NEW DELHI -- Addressing his fourth campaign rally for the upcoming Bihar elections today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi taunted the united opposition for being obsessed with him instead of focusing on development in the state.
In a joint rally on Sunday, Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav launched a vigorous attack against Modi, and mocked him for being forced to let the land acquisition ordinance lapse.
"Not only was Bihar disappointed, but the whole country was disappointed that instead of discussing how to take Bihar forward, they only talked about Modi," he told the crowds at Bhagalpur on Tuesday afternoon. "Modi, Modi, Modi, Modi..."
Modi, who has previously accused the chief minister of arrogance and elbowing out his political colleagues, said that Kumar had betrayed the socialist ideology of Jay Prakash Narayan by forming an alliance with the Congress Party.
Over the past few weeks, Modi, who is the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign in Bihar, has been locked in a battle of words with Kumar, who has accused the prime minister for insulting Biharis by his "DNA" remark. Both leaders have exchanged harsh words targeting their current policies and political careers.
Pointing out that the Centre had decided to give Rs3.76 lakh crore to Bihar, and the state is giving a package of Rs2.75 lakh crores, Modi asked Kumar to account for the remaining Rs1.6 lakh crore. "Is the money going for fodder?" he asked, a reference to the fodder scam in which Lalu Prasad was indicted in 2013
Even as Modi was speaking, Kumar made a jibe at him on Twitter. "Modi remembers Bihar, at least he said something on this. There was no meaning in what he said. All that could be heard was "Me, Me.... only Me"
मोदीजी को बिहार की याद भी आती है, इस पर कम से कम उन्होंने कुछ बोला तो.जो बोला उसमे तथ्य तो कुछ था नहीं पर सुनाई पड़ा - मैं मैं....केवल मैं— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) September 1, 2015
Hearing Modiji speak in public, I increasingly wonder if he would ever be able to improve his understanding and use of facts & figures— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) September 1, 2015
Before starting the rally on Sunday, Modi entreated some eager members in the crowd, who'd scampered up teetering bamboo poles for a better view of the prime minister, to immediately climb down.
"Yeh poora gir jayega. Neeche aa jaiye, aapko chot ayegi, neeche ayo bhai (this stage will fall, please come down, you'll hurt yourself)," Modi kept on repeating as TV cameras panned the rally ground to focus on the people who were seen scurrying down.
Modi asked the others to hold on to the bamboo poles that held the scaffolding together. "Mai aap logon ki neeche aane ke baad hi shuru karunga (I'll only start my speech once all of you are safely on the ground)," he said and waited silently for everyone to climb down.