Even as the battle for who heads the next Bihar government rages on, it seems that Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi have found new and creative ways to discredit each other. The opposition leaders are now trading parodied Bollywood references instead of plausible deliverables.
On Monday, the present Bihar chief minister read out a poem he had written to describe the Prime Minister.
"Bahti Hawa sa tha woh, Gujarat se aaya tha woh, kaala dhan laane wala thaa wo, kahan gaya use doondho. Humko desh ki fikr sataati hai, woh bus videsh ke daure lagaate hain, humko badhti mahangai satata, wo bas mann ki baat sunata. Har waqt apni selfie khinchta tha woh, Dawood ko laane wala tha woh, kahan gaya use dhoondo (He was like the blowing wind, he came from Gujarat with promises to bring back black money, where has he gone? Find him. While we worry about the country, he travels abroad; while price rise bothers us, he tells us only his 'Mann ki baat'. He is always busy clicking selfies, he promised to bring back Dawood. Where has he gone? Find him)," said Kumar, in a parody of a Bollywood song from a popular film.
Modi hit back on Tuesday, likening the JD(U)-RJD-Congress grand alliance to "3 Idiots", again a reference to the same film.
"Yesterday, I saw Nitishji doing some mushaira (reciting a poem). He felt that he will call some courtiers and journalists, recite poems and defeat Lalu by starting a new form of entertainment," Modi said addressing a rally in Sitamarhi. "I knew there are three partners in the grand alliance — Congress RJD and JD(U). But I wonder why Nitish Babu chose a song from the film 3 Idiots for his first mushaira. Even if you wanted to parody a poem why did you think of the 3 Idiots?"
He suggested that both Kumar and his ally Lalu Prasad should join the "field of entertainment".
"I have been noticing that Laluji entertains well and Bihar is getting some entertainment after many years. But these days there is an intense rivalry going on between Laluji and Nitishji on many issues — protecting the criminals, doing nepotism, breaking off from truth. Now the competition is also in the field of entertainment," he said.
Mocking the Bihar CM, Modi claimed that Kumar would spend his time after the Bihar elections writing poetry, since the PM was confident of a BJP win.
"What a game of entertainment Nitish Babu! You still have a week's time. Spend it doing this. Call your four-six courtiers, hold a mushaira. Practise it, perfect it, you will get many opportunities after November 8 (the day of counting). You can then sing at leisure songs of your suffering and shed tears ruing why you left someone, why you joined someone. Keep writing poems on all this and keep shedding tears," Modi said.
BJP supporters gather during an election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid Bihar Assembly Elections, at Hazipur on October 25, 2015 in Patna, India.
Modi dared Kumar to seize "convicted" RJD chief Lalu Prasad's properties and questioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi's silence on sting videos of JD(U) and RJD MLAs accepting bribes.
Addressing back-to-back election rallies in Sitamarhi and Bettiah, Modi rubbished Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's good governance claims, citing sting operations which allegedly showed two JD(U) MLAs, including a minister, and an RJD legislator accepting bribes.
Modi said it was part of a plan to "sell" Bihar and questioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi's silence on it.
"Madam Soniaji, you also answer this. Speak something," he said. "What do you have to say about this exchange of money in front of camera. Do you think this was a small transaction? Do you think it should have been bigger? Do you think they took the money but did not distribute the share?"
"The Congress party is engaging in all sorts of baseless allegations to mislead you (the people) but is keeping its mouth shut when Bihar is being sold," Modi said, addressing a rally in Bettiah.
Taking Nitish Kumar head on over his 'Bihari' versus 'Bahari' (outsider) pitch, Modi said, "Prime Minister cannot be called an outsider as he has equal stakes in all states of the country like a Chief Minister has in all districts of his state."
Seeking to corner Kumar on the corruption issue, Modi latched on to the sting vides of two JD(U) MLAs taking bribe.
"Nitishji used to say he will seize property of the corrupt and open a school there. Leave others but ensure this in case of the person with whom you have allied — Lalu Prasad, who has been convicted by the court. Seize Lalu's property and open a school there. At least work truly once," he said, in an apparent reference to Kumar breaking ties with BJP in June 2013 after being together for 17 years. Kumar has joined hands with his arch rival RJD chief Lalu Prasad for the Assembly elections in Bihar.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD (U) senior leader Nitish Kumar hugged each other on the dais at a joint election rally for assembly by-elections in August 2014 in Hajipur, India.
Under attack over alleged attempts at tinkering with quotas, Modi today again hit back, accusing Bihar's grand alliance of conspiring to give away five per cent share in reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs to "a particular community" through the "back door".
"Attempts are being made for stealing reservation as well. A game is going on from back door. This has been the business of Nitish and Lalu. As fodder was gobbled up, they also want to take away five percent reservation. A game is going on take away 5 percent quota from the arrangment of reservation made by Baba Saheb Ambedkar and give it to a particular community," the Prime Minister said.
About the sting operations, Modi said, "One fears even to imagine what kind of plans to sell Bihar would have been hatched by those who have not yet been caught. They can even allow the auction of Bihar. They have been caught on camera saying five more ministers will have to be given something.
"One RJD candidate has also been caught red-handed but Laluji does not seem to be bothered. Lalu feels he is a kid in corruption in comparison to his own involvement in fodder scam. He seems to be telling the legislator not to worry and follow him in the matter of corruption," Modi said.
Slamming the 'Bihari versus Bahari' pitch of Nitish and Lalu, he said the two leaders made youths of Bihar outsiders by pushing them out of the state ("dhakke maar kar nikal diya") in search of jobs.
"They say Bihari versus Bahari (outsider). Have you heard anybody calling the Prime Minister of the country an outsider. Is the Prime Minister not the representative of all states? Should the PM not have the same affection for all states? Can the Prime Minister be called an outsider? If your Chief Minister wins from Patna, will he not be considered the CM of Bettiah?," he asked the gathering.
Citing a letter written by Kumar against the RJD chief in past and Lalu's accusation — "Koi Aisa Saga Nahin, Jisko Nitish Ne Thaga Nahin (There is nobody close whom Nitish has not cheated)", the Prime Minister called the coming together of JD(U) and RJD an "unholy alliance".
"What kind of abuses were heaped by Nitishji on Lalu? Today the same Nitish Kumar has gone to Laluji. What is this if not a fraud with people. The lust for power is forcing you to commit this sin. Trust is a big thing in public life. Bihar cannot trust people who betray," he said.
Asserting that leaders of the the anti-BJP grand alliance have "panicked over impending defeat", Modi accused them of taking to "lies, cheating and betrayal" and repeatedly attacked Nitish over his meeting with a tantrik (occultist).
Terming Nitish's meeting with the tantrik a sign of "lack of confidence" in the grand alliance, Modi wondered whether such "tantra-mantra can save them".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during an election rally amid Bihar Assembly Elections, at Hazipur on October 25, 2015 in Patna, India.
Modi said people approach occultists only when they feel all roads are closed to them. Modi attacked Nitish Kumar once again over his "arrogance".
"Where does this arrogance take a person? When he submitted to Lalu ji, it was clear he was looking for options to save himself. Then he took shelter under Madam Sonia," he said.
"When all efforts failed and there is nothing left for him, he took to Jantar Mantar. This way you are insulting democracy. Can Jantar Mantar help them? Will their sins be washed away by Jantar Mantar? Will it provide education and employment to the youth and irrigation water to farmers?"
(with PTI inputs)