Patna: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a 'virtual' election campaign in Bihar making a veiled attack against his bete noire Nitish Kumar saying those who 'betrayed' BJP will be defeated by people of the state.
"There is a 1974-like anti-Congress wave prevailing in the country now. The mandate of the people of Bihar was for NDA. Like then (in 1974), those who betrayed the people's mandate in Bihar will be taught a lesson," Modi told party leaders without taking the name of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The Bihar Chief Minister, who has been opposed to Modi's style of politics, dumped BJP after his elevation as election campaign chief in his party last month.
Modi talked to leaders of BJP in Bihar over their mobile telephone through audio bridge technology. A total of 1,500 leaders across the state were chosen and they were divided into three groups. He talked to five leaders of each group.
Among those Modi talked to were former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, former Ashwani Chaube, who was stranded in Uttarakhand for some time, state BJP Vice President Sanjay Mayuk, MLAs Nitin Narain and Vijay Singh.
Bihar BJP President Mangal Pande told Modi that everyone was talking about the possibility of his becoming Prime Minister.
The chief minister laughed away the suggestion and said price rise was now emerging as a major issue and BJP workers should work hard to fight the Congress-led Central government on this and other issues.
When he talked to party leaders in Bagha, Aurangabad and Banka, Modi appeared to show some geographical knowledge of the areas when he mentioned some of the places. To one of them, he talked about the late JD(U) leader Digvijay Singh.
Modi's teleconference a 'drama': JD (U)
Janata Dal United JD(U) reacted to Modi's speech and termed it a "drama", saying the use of "high tech" is an urban phenomenon and not very effective among masses.
Mr Modi, who was elevated to lead the BJP's campaign in the next general election, is strategically beginning his campaign from Bihar where he has a running battle with erstwhile ally Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
"This is just a drama. Use of high technology makes an effect in urban areas where there is high literacy ... What difference will it make in rural areas where majority of population does not have access to TV or other IT means," Bihar JD(U) President Bashist Narayan Singh said.
"If somebody or some party thinks that through use of high technology they can have everything, its their thinking but we don't buy this," he told reporters after the induction of
former BJP minister Ramji Das Rishideo into the JD(U) fold.
Mr Singh in this regard referred to Chandrababu Naidu of Telegu Desam Party losing the polls in Andhra Pradesh after putting in all resources in making the state an IT hub.
He also referred to BJP's "feel good", which he said, "boomeranged" on it in the 2004 general elections.
In a dig at Mr Modi's tele-conferencing, Mr Singh said instead of creating artificial waves through use of technology, JD(U) believes in people-oriented programmes in which major sections of the society, both rural as well urban, could participate.