What is the technical difference between "not saying something on the record" & "saying something in an informal chat" timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/BJP…—
Offstumped (@offstumped) June 21, 2012
Much is made of the Nitish-Modi conundrum but little has been highlighted on when and how exactly did this develop.
A timeline trace of Nitish Kumar’s remarks between 2002 and 2007 tells a fascinating story of the pursuit for the incremental Muslim vote in Bihar as Nitish’s JD-U grew at the expense of both the Congress and the RJD drawing in dubious individuals including the now vocal Shivanand Tiwari who not too long ago was Lalu Yadav’s mouthpiece.
On the surface it may seem to be a story of opportunism and hypocrisy while deep down it is a story of cold realpolitik and naked ambition going all the way back to 2000 and Nitish’s first attempt at becoming the Chief Minister of Bihar.
The most fascinating aspect of this story however is that while Narendra Modi kept away from Bihar, neither campaigning nor saying much about Nitish, it is Nitish who cast the first stone while campaigning in Gujarat during the 2007 assembly elections on behalf of the JD-U and against the BJP.
In fact through the exhaustive search of Google News Archive it is hard to find a single direct comment by Narendra Modi on Nitish Kumar during that entire period.
This Indian Express editorial from 2005 highlights the extent to which the BJP in general and Modi in particular obliged Nitish to enable him to build his story in Bihar after Nitish’s botched attempt at forming a government in Bihar in 2000 with help from the BJP.
Railway minister and Samata Party leader Nitish Kumar has dubbed Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan “an opportunist who will join the Laloo bandwagon via Congress”. “Every political party has the right to make a decision. But Paswan’s decision had nothing to do with Gujarat. The Gujarat violence has been taking place for the last two months,” Kumar said, adding that Paswan’s exit from the NDA will have no impact in Bihar. “Paswan was trying to weaken the NDA even when he was in it,”
Congratulating the BJP, its allies at the Centre on Sunday refuted suggestions of any “polarisation” of votes in Gujarat but said it was a verdict against the Congress.
“The people of Gujarat were aggrieved with the kind of image painted outside the state and hence reacted in this way,” senior Samata party leader and Railway Minister Nitish Kumar said.
Claiming that there was no polarisation of votes between Hindus and Muslims, he said, “People are secular and they do not like any fundamentalists”.
Briefing mediapersons following Mr. Lalu Prasad’s charge that he had not got the Godhra incident probed sufficiently, the former Railway Minister denied it and accused his successor of “acting irresponsibly.” “This is a political statement meant to address a particular community,” he said.
“It is a political stunt but they (the Centre) should know that they cannot take advantage of the Gujarat riots again and again,” Kumar told reporters here when his reaction was sought on the report which was submitted to the Railway Board chairman R.K. Singh today.
Kumar, who was the Railway Minister when the mishap took place, said, “they (the Centre) will have to look for a new issue.”
The showing of CDs on the Gujarat riots by the RJD in Purnea and Kishanganj is in blatant violation of the EC directives as it is aimed at fomenting communal tension. I demand the EC to immediately ban it, JD(U) parliamentary party leader Kumar said.
Congratulating Narendra Modi for his victory in the assembly elections in Gujarat, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said Railway Minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was happy over Modi’s victory as his importance in the UPA at the Centre would remain intact.
Describing as ‘spectacular’ Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s victory, Prasad said Congress’ defeat reflected ‘some flaws’ in the party’s electoral strategy which included nominating BJP rebels.
The above remarks by Nitish after this also in December 2007 which is perhaps the first time we see signs of the JD-U in general and Nitish in particular taking on Narendra Modi.
The Bihar chief minister who was in Badodara yesterday was quick to react: “Narendra Modi should not have raised the issue, which is still sub judice. He (Modi) has raised it to polarise a section of voters in his favour, which is wrong.”
While campaigning in various parts of Gujarat, Nitish went to the extent of alleging: “The Gujarat chief minister has deviated from the path of development and has been ignoring the cause of tribals and Dalits.”
The JD(U), which has two MLAs in Gujarat, neither has a stake in that state nor is a party to the Modi government. “It’s good for us that Nitish Kumar has shown his dislike for Modi while campaigning there.The Muslims understand that the JD(U) is a secular party,” remarked a JD(U) MLA. Interestingly, Bihar BJP, which is party to the Nitish Kumar government, has preferred to stay silent on Nitish’s remarks on Modi, though the state’s deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi who campaigned for another Modi in Gujarat.