Bhagalpur: Attacking Bihar's ruling JD-U and its ally RJD, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told the people of Bihar to defeat those who "spread the poison of communalism and casteism".
Addressing his fourth rally ahead of assembly elections, the prime minister also took credit for making Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speak on the development agenda.
"The politics of casteism and communalism has failed Bihar," he told the rally. "Won't you prefer to get rid of those who spread the poison of communalism and casteism?"
Both before and after Modi's 50-minute speech, Nitish Kumar took on the prime minister, asking him to end his rhetoric and deliver the promises he made during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign.
"Development should be the main issue (in Bihar)," Modi said in Bhagalpur, about 200 km from Patna.
He reminded people that he had announced a Rs.1.25 lakh crore special package for Bihar's development last month.
And he said he had forced the alliance of the Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress to talk about development.
"I am happy that development has become an issue for them also."
But Modi targeted the alliance leaders by saying they were silent at their Patna rally on Sunday on how to develop Bihar.
"All of them only chanted Modi, Modi, nothing else, to target me."
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader urged the people to ask the "grand alliance" to provide a balance sheet of their 25 years of rule in Bihar.
Modi said the people of Bihar were happy with his central government, and nothing could stop the "victory march" of the BJP and its allies in the upcoming elections.
Nitish Kumar launched a scathing attack on Modi, accusing him of churning out data from "thin air".
After Modi ended his election rally in Bhagalpur town, the JD-U leader tweeted: "I increasingly wonder if he (Modi) would ever be able to improve his understanding and use of facts and figures."
The chief minister said that Rs.2.7 lakh crore would be available to implement the seven programmes he (Nitish Kumar) had announced in case he won the election. "Modiji should relax!
"Modi's talk of health infrastructure is ironical because it’s his government that has reduced health budget and stopped universal health plan.
"Modi must have whipped up his figures and data today from the same place he whipped up his special package - thin air," Nitish Kumar added.
Nitish Kumar reiterated his resolve to provide Rs.1,000 a month as unemployment allowance to youths in the age group of 20-25 years and loans of up to Rs.4 lakh through student credit cards.
He said he was also committed to setting up a Rs.500 crore venture capital fund, and providing free internet in colleges and universities.
And 35 percent of all government jobs would be reserved for women, he added.
Earlier, before Modi's arrival in Bihar, Nitish Kumar asked the prime minister to "stop rhetoric (and) chest thumping", and deliver the promises he made ahead of the Lok Sabha battle.
"Show moral courage. Accept insufficiencies in delivering on old promises," he said in a series of tweets.
"Respect the sentiments of the people of Bihar who have been troubled by your unkept promises and unsavoury comments," he said.
Asking Modi to take back "your derogatory words", he said: "Deliver your promise of special status to Bihar. Don’t mislead with so-called package where 86 percent is repackaged old schemes.
"Live up to your 2014 election promise of decriminalization and announce (that) no ticket (will be given) to candidates with criminal background."
The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies will be pitted in the coming assembly elections against the ruling Janata Dal-United and its allies the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress.