Patna: As the final stage of the Bihar election campaign becomes increasingly bitter, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reacted strongly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks describing the anti-BJP coalition as "3 Idiots".
Speaking to NDTV, Mr Kumar said the office of the Prime Minister "stands lowered by the comment". Mr Kumar's Janata Dal (United) has partnered with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal for the election.
"I thank Narendra Modi for calling us 3 Idiots," the Chief Minister said. "Earlier he said my DNA is faulty. After he has lowered the dignity of the PM's office with such comments, you can't expect anything else from him," he said.
Mr Kumar also described as "bogus" the claims by PM Modi that their coalition, known as the 'Grand Alliance', wants to give religion-based reservations. This, he said, is an attempt to inject "a communal dimension" into the campaign.
At a rally on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the alliance intended to "snatch" five per cent from the quota for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes.
"We will not allow anyone to take your reservation and give it to another community," PM Modi said. "I want to assure Dalits, Mahadalits, Backwards, Extremely Backwards that we will not allow anyone to take away your share (of reservation)."
Mr Kumar said that the quotas were based not on religious but on social and educational backwardness. "All that he's saying is bogus," Mr Kumar said.
"Now that all of the BJP's other strategies have failed, there's an attempt to communalise the election," he said.