New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday raised the issue of deadly Galwan Valley clash between India and China troops, scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir state's special status, and even the Pulwama attack in order to woo Bihar voters ahead of the Assembly elections.
Addressing his first-ever rally in Sasaram's Biada Maidan ahead of the elections, Modi said: "The sons of Bihar lost their lives in the Galwan Valley for the sake of the Tricolour and ensured that Mother India's head is held high. Bihar's jawans were also martyred in the Pulwama attack (in February 2019). I bow my head at their feet and pay my respects."
Many Bihar Regiment jawans had bravely fought and laid down their lives in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15.
He then referred to Congress leaders' recent statement that it will bring back Article 370 in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, which his government had scrapped on August 5 last year.
"After saying this, they dare to seek votes from Bihar. Is it not an insult of Bihar? The state that sends its sons and daughters to the borders in order to protect the country."
Earlier, Modi began his speech by paying respects to two Bihar leaders who recently passed away -- Ram Vilas Paswan and RJD's Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. The latter had resigned from the party before his death.
Taking a potshot at the Rashtriya Janata Dal without naming them, he said that those who once ruled Bihar are now again looking at the "developing state with their greedy eyes".
But Bihar, he added, would not forget who pushed them back. He brought up the issue of Bihar's worsening law and order and corruption in the past, in a seeming reference to Lalu Prasad's rule and the fodder scam.
Asserting that Bihar was well on its way to development, he said that the era of 'lantern', the electoral symbol of the RJD, was over.
He also pointed to the opposition to the three central agricultural laws and alleged that the same stemmed from efforts to "protect the middlemen" just like the opposition "was speaking their language" during the Rafale controversy.
Attacking the RJD and the Congress, he said that as the Gujarat Chief Minister, he witnessed how the Centre then "wasted" 10 years of Bihar after their defeat. He added that to make India self-reliant, Bihar needs to vote for the National Democratic Alliance.
Modi praised the steps taken by the Bihar government to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, also present on the occasion, was full of praise for Modi's "leadership". Kumar said that if his government returned to power in Bihar, it would focus on the availability of irrigation facilities and benefits of latest technology in every village.
Multiple stages are set up during Bihar's electoral rallies by the NDA to ensure physical distancing, with efforts to arrange chairs on the podiums at a distance for the crowd. Those who thronged the rally maintained social distance norms and wore masks. The Prime Minister's first rally in this Bihar poll season witnessed an enthusiastic crowd that cheered continuously.