Almost two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a blunder by questioning the ‘DNA’ of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the former today not only stopped himself from falling into a similar trap but also outsmarted the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance which has repeatedly attacked him for being a “bahari” (outsider) in Uttar Pradesh.
During the heat of election campaign in Bihar, PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah was attacked by opponents JD(U), RJD and Congress for being an outsider trying to control the state. In a bid to tackle the outsider jibe against him and Shah, PM Modi gifted a weapon to the enemy camp by questioning the DNA of Kumar. “There seems to be some problem in his (Nitish Kumar) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In a democracy, you give respect even to your political rivals,” PM Modi had said during a rally at Muzaffarpur in July 2015. However, PM Modi’s remark backfired as Kumar and his allies built a campaign around it, alleging that PM Modi had maligned the DNA of people of Bihar.
Interestingly, the Prime Minister has faced similar jibes from prime opponent SP-Congress during the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017. In fact, the Congress has even launched an ‘Apne Ladke versus Bahri Log’ campaign in a bid to downplay Modi’s appeal in the state. “Apne Ladke” has been attributed to Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi, who have joined hands for the polls, while “Bahari log” is being used for Modi-Shah.
PM Modi could have trodden the same path as he did in Bihar. But at a rally in Hardoi today, the Prime Minister not only corrected the Bihar blunder but also outsmarted SP-Congress by saying he is the “adopted son” of Uttar Pradesh. PM Modi also invoked Lord Krishna, who is believed to be born in UP, to press his point. “Lord Krishna was born in Uttar Pradesh and made Gujarat his site of action. I was born in Gujarat and UP has adopted me,” Modi said.
In an apparent dig at UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who recently had a bitter fight with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav for the control of Samajwadi Party, Modi further said, “Uttar Pradesh is my ‘mai-baap’ (parents). I am not the son who would betray his ‘mai-baap’. You have adopted me and it is my duty to work for you. Vote for a majority BJP government. I promise to show you the way out of all the problems you are facing within five years.”
Rival parties are campaigning for the third phase of the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017, which will take place on February 19. The result of the elections would be announced on March 11.