Modi, Nitish clash over Bihar's BIMARU tag

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Patna,August 10: Gloves were off in Bihar's electoral arena on Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar attacking each other over the state's BIMARU tag and the former warning of a return of the "jungle raj" if JD(U)-RJD alliance were to come to power after the state polls.

Making a dash for the state for a second time in a fortnight to drum up support for NDA ahead of the assembly polls, Modi repeatedly invoked the spectre of  "jungle raj",the epithet used to describe alleged misgovernance during the Lalu-Rabri rule, as he attacked the newly-formed JD(U)-RJD coalition calling it "politically opportunistic".

"If Jungle Raj part II arrives, everything will be ruined.During Jungle Raj part I there was no experience of jail,
which would be there now. Nobody learns good things in jail,"Modi said, addressing a public rally in Gaya, referring to RJD boss Lalu Prasad's incarceration in the fodder scam and highlighting the perceived dangers for the state in voting the JD(U)-RJD alliance to power.

He also raked up the issue of BIMARU tag of Bihar and promised to remove it within five years of a BJP-led NDA
government assuming the reins.

"If you want Bihar to be out of the category of BIMARU states,hand over the reins to a BJP government....an NDA government which has capable leadership of people like Jitan Ram Manjhi,Ram Vilas Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha and Sushil Kumar Modi," he said.

"Give us five years, we will ensure that Bihar gets out of the 'BIMARU' category," he said, adding that under BJP's leadership,Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have come out of it and were moving fast on the path of development, like BJP-ruled Haryana and Gujarat.

Stung by the BIMARU jibe, an angry Kumar shot back and asked the Prime Minister to get his facts right, while launching a counter offensive over his "jungle raj" remark, reminding him of the situation that prevailed in Gujarat during the 2002 riots that prompted the then NDA Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to advise Modi, who was
the Chief Minister, to follow Raj Dharma.

"He said Bihar is a BIMARU state. Bihar's growth rate, performance on social indices like education and health care present a picture which does not show it is a laggard state.

He should have his facts right. Nobody will like to make a joke of himself by calling Bihar a BIMARU state," Kumar told a press conference in Patna, hours after PM's rally.

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