Patna: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today launched a 'virtual' election campaign in Bihar making a veiled attack against his bete noire Nitish Kumar saying those who 'betrayed' BJP will be defeated by people of the state.
"There is a 1974-like anti-Congress wave prevailing in the country now. The mandate of the people of Bihar was for NDA. Like then (in 1974), those who betrayed the people's mandate in Bihar will be taught a lesson," Modi told party leaders without taking the name of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The Bihar Chief Minister, who has been opposed to Modi's style of politics, dumped BJP after his elevation as election campaign chief in his party last month.
Modi talked to leaders of BJP in Bihar over their mobile telephone through audio bridge technology. A total of 1,500 leaders across the state were chosen and they were divided into three groups. He talked to five leaders of each group.
Among those Modi talked to were former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, former Ashwani Chaube, who was stranded in Uttarakhand for some time, state BJP Vice President Sanjay Mayuk, MLAs Nitin Narain and Vijay Singh.
Bihar BJP President Mangal Pande told Modi that everyone was talking about the possibility of his becoming Prime Minister.
The chief minister laughed away the suggestion and said price rise was now emerging as a major issue and BJP workers should work hard to fight the Congress-led Central government on this and other issues.
When he talked to party leaders in Arrah, Aurangabad and Baata, Modi appeared to show some geographical knowledge of the areas when he mentioned some of the places. To one of them, he talked about the late JD(U) leader Digvijay Singh.
Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who talked to Narendra Modi over mobile, said the Gujarat CM highlighted the old bond between Gujarat and Bihar and said there cannot be one model of development for the country.
"Even in Gujarat, there are a few places which are less developed than others, for which we have to pay special attention," he quoted Narendra Modi as having said.
The BJP campaign committee chief said the 1974 movement had started from Gujarat and reached its peak in Bihar.
He also said many Congressmen were against making Rajendra Prasad President "but it was Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel who played a key role in making him the President."
Sushil Modi said he told the Gujarat CM that as he and other Bihar BJP leaders, while moving across the state, witnessed "anger among the people against the chief minister for betraying the people's mandate."
"The anger among the people is like it was in 2005 when the then Governor Buta Singh had in early 2005 denied opportunity to JD(U)-BJP combine to form government in Bihar," Sushil Modi said.
Wherever BJP leaders went in Bihar, the people flocked in large numbers to show their anger against Nitish Kumar, he told the capaign chief.
Sushil Modi said the Gujarat Chief Minister appreciated the erstwhile NDA government's decision in Bihar to reserve 50 percent seats for women in panchayats and urban local bodies.
"I followed it but the Governor of Gujarat is sitting over the legislation and not giving her approval to it," he quoted Narendra Modi as saying.
Narendra Modi said the people of Bihar had contributed to the development of Gujarat and that was why he had participated in Bihar centenary celebrations in his state.
Bihar BJP President Mangal Pandey, who spoke to the BJP campaign chief from his native Siwan district, said he told Narendra Modi that the party's sacrifice in the Bihar legislature in sitting in the oppisition despite the mandate for NDA would be an example for the country.
On this, Narendra Modi had reportedly told him "people never forget sarifices and never forgive a betrayer."
To a question by Aurangabad district BJP President Purushotam Kumar, Narendra Modi highlighted his developmental initiatives in Gujarat.
"When I took over the rein of the state, the percentage contribution of agriculture in state's GDP was 2 percent and water table had gone down by 1100 feet. I worked hard and have enhanced farm sector share in GDP to 11 percent," Narendra Modi said.
"Initially, people of the state had asked me for power at meal times but now I have given them electricity 24 hours," he said.
State BJP headquarters here, where five leaders spoke to Narendra Modi over mobile phone, sported a banner with his photograph above Parliament House and a slogan 'Mission 2014' written on it.