Prime Minister Narendra Modi dispensed the first three minutes of his speech in Patna on triple-A praise for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose prohibition policy he later highlighted as “inspirational.”
“I want to thank Nitish Kumar on one thing. I congratulate him for implementing prohibition. Social change is a very tough thing to achieve. Yet, he has shown remarkable ability in implementing prohibition. I want to tell everyone in Bihar that it is not only Nitish’s job but of the whole society to do so. And if Bihar is successful in this then the whole country will be inspired,” the Prime Minister said at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
“I heartily welcome and congratulate Nitish Kumar for taking up such a big social work in his hand,” said Mr. Modi.
Mr. Modi also applauded Mr. Kumar for taking personal interest in making arrangement of the Prakash Parv celebration, which was organized on the 350th birth anniversary of the 10 Sikh guru Gobind Singh. Thursday was the last day of five-day Prakash Parv celebration.
The PM’s remarks come at a time when the Bihar CM lauded the Centre’s demonetisation move even as his party, JD-U, criticised it in Parliament. His alliance partner Lalu Prasad-led RJD also did not toe a similar line. Of heavyweight opposition leaders, Mr. Kumar alone stood outside a united attack on the sudden notes ban that was introduced in November to combat black money, and resulted in a massive cash shortage, with around-the-block lines at banks only now thinning out.
Modi, on his part, publicly expressed his gratitude to Nitish and Navin Patnaik. Nitish’s support and Modi’s public acknowledgment has since then given rise to speculation about how far their new-found or renewed friendship could go.
When Nitish rose to speak, he spoke of Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat for multiple terms, 12 years.
He referred to Nitish again: “Desh ko aage badhane me Bihar bahut bada kaam karega (In taking the country forward, Bihar will play a major role).”