Hunkaar Rally: Dear Nitish Kumar, you might have just missed the bus

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The October 27 BJP rally in Patna was a showdown between Nitish Kumar's Ahankaar and Narendra Modi's Hunkaar. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate, who had not been heard speaking against the Bihar chief minister much since the break-up between the JD(U) and BJP in June, came hard at the latter at the mega rally.

He said when one is not bothered to care about a great leader like JP (Jayaprakash Narayan), then how can one expect him to give due respect to the BJP. He said those who claim themselves to be the disciples of great leaders like JP and Ram Manohar Lohia who had fought against the Congress's authoritarian rule, engage in a hide-and-seek game with the Congress itself. He raised the pitch further towards the end of his hour-long speech, saying the Hindus and Muslims need to fight poverty and not each other.

Connecting minorities with development

He connected the minority community with development by saying that in Bihar, despite more number of quotas, the Muslims fail to apply for Haj pilgrimage because of economic hardship. In Gujarat, he said, the Muslims apply in huge numbers even though the quota is lesser there, thanks to their development. He also said that in Gujarat, two of the most developed districts, namely, Kutch and Bharuch, have huge presence of Muslim population.

An interesting role reversal for Congress and Modi

Modi has already been raising a secular pitch by stressing that the government has only one religion, i.e. India, in his past few speeches. And now, he is playing that secular card more by reaching out to other communities like Muslims, Sikhs and others. The reason is not difficult to understand. For each time a Rahul Gandhi or a Nitish Kumar plan to corner Modi by raking up the communal issue, the latter will just reverse the game and play the secular game. It is an interesting role reversal for Gandhi and Modi. While Rahul Gandhi said Muslim youth are falling prey to Pakistani influence, Modi is speaking about the development of the minorities.

Nitish Kumar could be the biggest casualty of this development

And none but Nitish Kumar could be the biggest casualty of this interesting development. After losing the Maharajganj bypoll badly in June, Kumar was perhaps apprehensive about the future of his alliance with the BJP and feared that the RJD was about to make a comeback at the expense of his party. The elevation of Modi in the BJP ranks made him desperate and he terminated a 17-year-old relation with the NDA.

Missing out on the chances of becoming an NDA prime minister might have rattled Kumar. But could it be worse than the serious loss of credibility that he is facing now in his own state? Perhaps not.

Nitish could have gained more by sharing the dais with Modi

Just imagine the two leaders, Modi and Kumar, sharing the dais at the Hunkaar Rally on Sunday and jointly taking the fight to the UPA camp. It would have eased the task of Kumar to gain a momentum for his party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls if he successfully cashed in on Modi's appeal. But the Bihar chief minister, who was looked up as one of the country's best administrators till recently, faced flak over yet another terror attack in the state capital preceding Modi's rally. That the blasts took place despite the announcement of the rally was made eight months ago will raise more questions for the Nitish administration.

Sushil Kumar Modi could benefit from Kumar's hasty move

Kumar's decision has also made way to the emergence of another BJP leader from Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi. One wouldn't be surprised if the Modi from Bihar, and not Gujarat, becomes a bigger threat to the JD(U) leadership in the post-Lalu Prasad era in the state politics.

The divorce with BJP has made Kumar the sole share-holder in the growing anti-incumbency mood in Bihar, something which the BJP won't regret and rather look forward to present itself as an alternative to the people of the state. A weak Congress and a Lalu-less RJD make such a scenario all the more possible.

Modi hijacks secularism?

We don't really know how Nitish Kumar read the massive BJP rally in Patna on Sunday. But the way Narendra Modi hijacked the secularism factor by comparing the status of the Muslims in Bihar and Gujarat, the JD(U) leadership won't be in a happy frame of mind.

The Congress and some of the regional parties who always try to cash in on the minority vote-bank, must remember before attacking Modi on the communal-secular grounds that the latter has nothing to lose as far as the minority vote is concerned but has a lot to gain. On the other hand, they themselves have a lot at stake.

Modi tears into Nitish at the Hunkaar Rally

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi tore into Bihar CM Nitish Kumar at the Hunkaar Rally in Patna on Sunday, October 27, 2013.

Hunkaar Rally

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, party president Rajnath Singh, senior leader Arun Jaitley along with other state party leaders at the Hunkar rally in Patna on Sunday.

Patna

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the Hunkar rally in Patna on Sunday.

In Patna

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the Hunkar rally in Patna on Sunday.

At Hunkaar Rally, Patna

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi being welcomed by party leader and actor Shatrughan Sinha at the Hunkar rally in Patna on Sunday.

At Hunkaar Rally, Patna

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi with party leader Sushil Kumar Modi at the Hunkar rally in Patna on Sunday.

At Hunkaar Rally, Patna

BJP president Rajnath Singh with BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and party leaders Shatrughan Sinha and Sushil Kumar Modi at the Hunkar rally in Patna on Sunday.

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