Even as brisk voting was in progress for 71 assembly seats in Bihar on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speeches at three rallies in Muzaffarpur, Patna and Darbhanga hit out at RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav describing him as "Jungleraj Ka Yuvraj" (Prince of Jungle Rule).
Modi was referring to the period of lawlessness in Bihar during the 15-year-long rule of RJD. During this period, a large number of kidnappings, heists and robberies took place in the state and criminal gangs were ruling the roost. By 'Yuvraj', he was referring to Tejashwi, son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, presently serving his sentence in jail in the fodder scam. Tejashwi has been projected as a chief ministerial candidate by the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan.
Modi cautioned voters to be careful while casting their votes. He said, "if jungle raj returns to Bihar, the dark age of lantern (RJD poll symbol) will return. All the development that took place during Nitish Kumar's 15-year-long rule will go waste. Forget about getting government jobs, even private companies that are offering jobs in Bihar, will close shop and leave. The kidnapping industry will return and Bihar will again turn 'bimaru' (sick). Those who are promising you jobs are actually trying to arrange jobs for themselves. Once they return to power, 'paisa hazam, pariyojana khatam' (they will pocket all the money from projects).”
Modi's speeches on Wednesday were hard-hitting and are being viewed as a game-changer in the current NDA campaign. The people of Bihar have not yet forgotten the dark period of corruption and rampant kidnappings when criminal gangs were active. Modi reminded voters that it was Nitish Kumar who consistently worked towards bring back the rule of law and ensured that projects were completed.
Modi knows the art of convincing the common man in a language that they understand. Most of the politicians lack this art of convincing voters and indulge in personal mudslinging. The people of Bihar were yearning to hear Modi speak about Lalu Yadav and his son Tejashwi Yadav. Modi did not even name Tejashwi, but by naming him as 'yuvraj' he conveyed whatever he wanted to. Nowhere did he resort to abusive words.
Contrast this with what Nitish Kumar said on Tuesday while mentioning about Lalu Yadav and his seven daughters and two sons. This did not go down well with the common people of Bihar. The same message was conveyed by Modi in a different manner and it was not at all jarring. Tejashwi and RJD leaders must have felt the pinch after watching Modi speak, but they had no answer. Tejashwi, for the last several weeks, had been consciously trying to avoid any mention of 'jungleraj' in his speeches. He wanted the sad memories of those days forgotten, but it was left to Modi to point out the truth about those dark years in a blunt manner.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also addressed rallies in Bihar on Wednesday. I listened to some of his speeches but these were bland, to say the least. Rahul was speaking about farmers' protests in Punjab, about Dussehra, about what Modi said during the Corona epidemic, and he was seeking votes from the people of Bihar. It matters the least to Rahul Gandhi whether he is addressing a rally during the assembly elections or the Lok Sabha elections.
For the last three years, I have been watching most of his speeches. Most of his dialogues are repetitive, they do not connect with the voters, and if you change the time and place of his rallies, you may not find an iota of change in his speeches. In all his speeches, Rahul Gandhi's single-point agenda is Modi. The more he makes disparaging remarks about Modi, the more he is indirectly helping the BJP. It's time that Rahul should change the tone and tenor of his speeches and make them relatable to voters who are listening to him, instead of speaking only about Modi like a stuck gramophone record.
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