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  5. With ‘prohibition’ as his new trump-card, Nitish Kumar challenges PM Modi right in his bastion

With ‘prohibition’ as his new trump-card, Nitish Kumar challenges PM Modi right in his bastion

With an eye on positioning himself as the most viable alternative to PM Modi in 2019 general elections, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today exhorted the people of Uttar Pradesh to teach the BJP the same lesson in challenged Modi

Raj Singh Raj Singh Updated on: May 12, 2016 23:13 IST
Nitish Kumar in Varanasi
Image Source : PTI Nitish Kumar in Varanasi

New Delhi: With an eye on positioning himself as the most viable alternative to PM Modi in 2019 general elections, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar  today exhorted the people of Uttar Pradesh to teach the BJP the same lesson in next year’s Assembly elections that Bihar taught the saffron party in 2015.

Nitish knows that the road to 7, Race Course Road passes through Uttar Pradesh which accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Uttar Pradesh played a crucial role in handing over a comfortable and historic majority to Modi-led BJP in Lok Sabha. The Saffron party along with its allies got a massive 73 seats.

If Modi’s juggernaut has to be stopped in 2019 then UP will have to apply the breaks and Nitish Kumar does not want to leave any stone unturned in convincing the UP electorate to reject Modi and BJP in 2017 Assembly elections. A victory for BJP in the UP Assembly elections will further boost the chances of PM Modi to make a comeback in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

 
And the Bihar Chief Minister has ‘prohibition’ as his new weapon and he is pretty convinced about its efficacy. During 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, Nitish Kumar did everything to win over the support of females, the 50% of the electorate. He reminded them of how he empowered them by providing free bicycles to school going girls and promised to ban ‘alcohol’ if he returned to power.

The promise of banning ‘alcohol’ worked for Nitish and this is one promise that is believed to have made females throw their weight behind Nitish Kumar in Assembly elections. In a state where a majority of people are living below poverty line, alcohol was a bane indeed. And the women had to bear the brunt of drunkard male family members who spent a major part of whatever little they earned on alcohol.

As far as social life and living standard is concerned, UP is not very different from Bihar. UP women are facing the same problems that their counterparts in Bihar faced in the past. And Nitish Kumar realises that ‘prohibition’ has the potential of being successfully used as his new trump-card.

That’s why he announced in Varanasi today that he will lead a movement for complete ban of alcohol in Uttar Pradesh. He has promised to launch a women’s movement for ‘prohibition’ in the state on May 15 from Lucknow.

He also came very hard on BJP’s plank of nationalism and reminded the people that their predecessors played no role in India’s freedom movement.

"Today the BJP is talking about nationalism whereas the forefathers of the BJP and the RSS played no role in the independence movement. When Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad were fighting against the British, none of them were not there. But today, they are preaching nationalism," Nitish Kumar reminded the electorate of Varanasi who handed over an impressive victory to PM Modi from this Lok Sabha constituency.

He also took pot shot at PM Modi for misleading the people in 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the issue of bringing back the black money. He reminded the people how BJP chief Amit Shah washed his hands off from the promise by terming it as a mere ‘jumla’.

"Whatever they say during the elections, it is declared  a 'jumla' by their own party president. They assured the youth of providing employment. But where is employment?" asked a sarcastic Nitish Kumar.

And finally, he gave the clarion call to defeat the BJP in upcoming Assembly elections in the state. He reminded the people of UP that if Bihar can defeat the BJP comprehensively, UP can surely repeat the same feat.

"Bihar has shown them their true place. Now we want to alert the people in UP that they must oust BJP in a similar manner. When they can be defeated in Bihar, they can be defeated in other states and the country as well," Nitish Kumar thundered.

Obviously, Nitish kumar is playing all his cards cleverly in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections. After replacing Sharad Yadav as the national president of JD(U), Nitish wants to start his battle against Narendra Modi at the national level from UP itself. And what can be a better occasion for him to prove a point than the  next year’s Assembly elections in the state.

2019 is far away but Nitish Kumar has kicked off his campaign quite earnestly and 2017 Assembly elections outcome will give a hint of whether his strategy is hitting the bull’s eye or not. As on today, Nitish sounds very confident of the potency of his new ‘prohibition’ weapon.