Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during an election meeting, in Nalanda district, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Image Credit: PTI

Patna: A personal comment by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar against his rival Lalu Prasad, head of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), has triggered a storm in the state ahead of the first phase of polling on Wednesday with commentators terming it as “bitter and ugly”. Kumar is the National Democratic Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate for Bihar again.

“Does anyone care? They have eight-nine children. They have no faith in daughters. The son was born after many daughters,” the chief minister told an election rally in Vaishali district on Monday, in an oblique reference to RJD president Lalu Prasad.

He warned everything would be destroyed in Bihar if the masses look up to “such people.” “Everything will get destroyed if the people choose them. I want to serve the people but they want to make money,” the chief minister alleged.

The remark has drawn bitter criticism from across the political spectrum and the common people. “Such things are not acceptable. Nitish should focus his campaign on basic issues but he is losing restraint over words. Such things were never seen in the past,” said Vijay Anand, a local resident.

Another voter Rajiv Kumar Singh said the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate should maintain dignity. “We strongly condemn such remarks from a person who served as the chief minister of the state thrice and is again seeking re-election,” he said.

Voters react

Local TV news channels went to various parts of the state to seek comments of the voters over the remark by the chief minister. Terming the statement “ugly”, the people said they would vote over the issues of development, employment, health and education rather than personal issues which are meaningless.

Tejashwi Yadav, opposition Grand Alliance’s CM face and son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, said every bad word used by the chief minister was like “blessings” to him. “Nitish Kumarji is mentally and physically tired and that’s why he can speak whatever he likes. I treat his words like blessings,” Tejashwi said, adding Bihar had decided to vote on the issues of development and employment in this poll.

Tejashwi also gave a new twist to Nitish’s “8-9 children” jibe saying, “By commenting on my family, Nitish Kumar is targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he also has six siblings. By using such language, he has insulted women and my mother’s sentiments.”

Political leaders across the country also reacted bitterly. “This language is undignified and unacceptable. This shows his loss is visible,” said Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“What a disgusting comment to make. Losing all dignity and respect he gathered in 11 years as CM. Won’t include his last 3 years since his mask began to fall since then,” said Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi.