The NDA alliance in Bihar is a benchmark of PM Narendra Modi and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s development agenda and the poll result will mirror it, insists seniormost BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi. Excerpts from his interview with Rajesh Kumar Thakur.
How would the NDA fare in Bihar this time?
Bihar’s emphasis has been on development and prosperity of all castes and groups. Governance based on dignity and justice to all has to deliver positive results. We are positive of bagging 35 to 36 seats with a national tally of 350-plus.
So, the Mahagathbandhan led by Lalu Prasad’s party is no challenge?
His group is nothing but an outfit built on bluff and bluster. It has cheated marginalised communities. If NDA is a natural alliance, Mahagathbandhan is for survival. That’s why NDA has no dissidents, while they are full of it. We have built a place in people’s hearts, while RJD is an epitome of fear and anarchy.
Why would people vote you?
Electrification. Bihar is now out of Prasad’s lantern age. We have made a turnaround with 100% electrification and it has been emulated by other states. Social researchers have noted its positive impact. On average, 16 to 22-hour power is available in rural areas where electricity was once a dream.
Also, total prohibition has saved millions of poor from economic ruin, slashed road accidents and ensured health. But Lalu Prasad’s anti-development front is a votary of alcoholism.
Lalu Prasad’s absence from poll arena helps you?
Wrong assumption. I wish he were out of jail. Lalu out and about would refresh the image of Bihar’s 15-year anarchic existence under him and benefit NDA. He is the symbol of fear and state’s collapse. I knew him in college. He was chaotic and anarchist, never serious.
He ruined Bihar; also the peace and prestige of his own family by indulging in malpractices while reducing politics to a butt of jokes with his buffoonery. His control of RJD from jail makes it a one-man show.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has mocked BJP’s chowkidar campaign and doubted the Rafale deal
The people don’t take ‘on-bail’ Rahul Gandhi and ‘in-jail’ Lalu Prasad seriously.
They are the Doubting Thomases of Indian politics. India needs a stable and strong government — the reason for massive mandate to PM Modi.
That mandate has been honoured and glorified across the world. The Rafale is nothing but a desperate attempt to ambush people’s trust, which will result in electoral bonanza for NDA.
RJD’S Jharkhand chief Annapurna Devi has joined the BJP.
We have settled a big score. What RJD did by taking away Inder Singh Namdhari years ago has been returned with interest.
You are the one who put Lalu Prasad into further trouble...
Yes. Because I am text savvy. I addressed 42 media conferences to expose the bunch of financial fraud by Prasad’s family when he was Railway Minister. I substantiated every irregularity with documents without being scared. When Nitish Kumar, then in alliance with RJD understood the magnitude of frauds detected by me, he broke away from that unnatural alliance.
Why no seats for minorities in your list?
We had less seats to contest because of a central decision. I do admit a bit of injustice but minorities will get enough seats in Assembly elections 2020.
What is the secret of your comfort level with CM Nitish Kumar?
He is a politician with a vision. He acts honestly for development and is above party and politics. We are accommodating of each other and understand governance needs. That helps us to work in tandem and pull in the same direction.