A speech made by Nitish Kumar, then the Union railway minister, at Adipur, Kutch, while inaugurating a railway project in December, 2003, praising the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a potential national leader, a development-oriented politician and asking people move beyond the past.
“I hope Narendra Modi won’t be confined to Gujarat for long and the nation will get his services.”
“I want to congratulate Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Lots of work has been done in Gujarat, but a different image about the state and about Narendra bhai has been created outside the state. The work in the state isn’t publicised the way it should be,” Kumar went on.
“What happened (in 2002) was a blot. But it’s not good if we remember just that and forget other things that are happening.”
“I congratulate Narendra Bhai. Gujarat’s development is helpful for India and if Gujarat develops the nation will also develop".
“When there was tension in 2002 Nitish Kumar was with us. When there is peace now, he is parting with us,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
"We have a number of CDs in which (Nitish) Kumar has publicly and uninhibitedly praised his Gujarat counterpart and even praised him to the effect that his services and leadership will be beneficial to the country... We have collected all these CDs for display before the people of Bihar so that his duplicity could be exposed thoroughly," BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters, a day after the BJP and the JD(U) parted ways.
BJP leaders say they will visit villages and all nooks and corners of Bihar and play all the CDs in which Mr Kumar had praised the Gujarat Chief Minister on several occasions since the post-Godhra riots.
Sushil Kumar Modi said Nitish Kumar, at a function in Kutch on December 13, 2003, "had downplayed the Gujarat riots a year earlier and said the impressive development in that state should get precedence over the incident which should be buried once and for all."
Defending himself, the Bihar Chief Minister, who was the Railway Minister at that time, cited protocol issues for his remarks.
"The protocol says that in government functions a union minister is not supposed to criticise a state government... As a union minister are we supposed to make political speech at an official function?" he asked.
"When I used to visit other states as a railway minister, those speeches were never political. It's part of the protocol to praise the host state and not to speak against them," the Bihar Chief Minister added.
Dismissing Nitish Kumar's defence that his praise of Narendra Modi was for the sake of protocol, Sushil Kumar Modi, the former Deputy Chief Minister said, "One sticks to agenda of a particular function in making a speech at an official function and does not talk of sensitive issues and make motivational remarks asking a leader to play a national role."
"The BJP has decided to give a national role to Modi in 2013, but Nitish Kumar had forecast a bigger role for the Gujarat Chief Minister a decade back," he said.
Nitish Kumar's 2003 speech in praise of Narendra Modi is not the only one and BJP has collected many more CDs, which it will play before the people in Bihar and outside to expose his duplicity, he added.