NEW DELHI (TIP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “undignified” language during the Bihar campaign was responsible for the party’s electoral debate, a BJP parliamentarian from the state said on November 10, joining a growing list of local leaders who have blamed the defeat on the national leadership.
Bhola Singh, the saffron party MP from Begusarai, said the BJP paid the price for Modi deviating from the development narrative and blamed the PM for walking into RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s “trap”, two days after a three-party Grand Alliance led by Nitish Kumar trounced the NDA.
“The BJP was not defeated in Bihar, it committed suicide. Lalu made Modi speak his language. How can a prime minister use ‘amaryadit’ (undignified) language and take names of the sons and daughters of a rival?” the two-time MP asked, after the NDA lost all seven assembly seats in Begusarai.
Singh also praised Nitish Kumar for maintaining poise and was critical of the statements made by Modi and other top leaders, particularly before the last phase.
“The core development issues – roti, kapada and makaan – took the backseat. Raising issues such as beef and saying Pakistan would celebrate with firecrackers if the BJP loses were illogical and in bad taste, leading to our defeat,” he said.
“He (Nitish) behaved like a statesman. He did not downgrade himself. BJP could not provide an alternative to him.”
Former Lok Sabha deputy speaker Karia Munda agreed, saying the Bihar drubbing was the result of controversial statements by Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, and the neglect of local leaders.
“Had the cooperation of local leaders been taken, the party would not have suffered a defeat,” Khunti MP Munda said.
He warned the BJP of a similar fate in Jharkhand if the workers, government and the party organisation did not work in tandem.
Singh, an eight-time MLA from Bihar, is the first senior leader from the state to lash out at Modi but several other party MPs –Shatrughan Sinha (Patna Saheb), Hukumdeo Narain Singh (Madhubani), RK Singh (Ara) and Ashwani Kumar Choubey (Buxar) — have blamed the national leadership and the RSS for the drubbing .
But the party dismissed Singh’s dissent, saying his outburst was due to the party denying a ticket to his relative. A party leader said the BJP had forced him to move against his wishes to Begusarai from Nawada for Giriraj Singh in last year’s Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP has been left stunned by its massive defeat in Bihar at the hands of the Rashtriya Janata Dal – Janata Dal (United) -Congress coalition. The saffron coalition banked on PM Modi’s personal popularity and didn’t project a chief ministerial candidate but the strategy appeared to have backfired with the BJP doing poorly even in its former strongholds.