Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that voting in the first phase of Bihar Assembly elections indicated “huge gains” for the National Democratic Alliance, which has left opponents frustrated.

The first phase of the state polls were conducted on October 28, with 55.68% recorded turnout. The second phase will be held on November 3 across 17 districts. Sunday is final day for the campaigning for the second phase of the polls.

“Political pundits proven wrong in 1st phase of Bihar polls which saw [a] large voter turnout despite Covid-19,” Modi said at a rally in Chapra. “Opponents are frustrated and have begun to vent ire by shoving own supporters.” The prime minister was referring to a recent viral video of Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav.

The NDA defeated “double-double yuvraj” (two crown princes) in the Uttar Pradesh elections, they will meet the same fate in Bihar, Modi said, alluding to Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

“Today, Bihar has ‘double-engine ki sarkar’,” the prime minister said, according to ANI. “You must have seen 3-4 years ago during UP election, double Yuvraj there as well, climbed on top of the bus, wore black jackets and used to visit villages while waving. On the one hand, there is development brought in by the double engine government of the NDA. On the other there are these double-double yuvraj with the sole agenda of saving their thrones.”

On the NDA government’s work in the state, the prime minister said it ensured “fires kept burning in kitchens” of the poor during the coronavirus pandemic.

Modi said the voter turnout in the first phase of the elections made him confident about another term for the Nitish Kumar-led government. The prime minister is scheduled to address three more rallies in Bihar today. Earlier he had addressed as many as six rallies across the state, consistently backing Kumar as the NDA’s chief ministerial face.

“Recently our neighbour accepted complicity in Pulwama exposed those who doubted valour of sons of Bihar,” Modi said, in reference to a Pakistani minister’s speech that went viral a few days ago. “The admission has also taken the masks off our opponents who never actually cared for the lives we lost in the suicide attack which killed many sons of Bihar. They have always been more preoccupied with their political gains.”

Pakistan Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday claimed that his country was responsible for the Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir last year, in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed. The minister made the remarks in the country’s Parliament but backtracked after his comment drew flak.

In February 2019, 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed after an explosive-laden car driven by a suicide bomber rammed into their bus in Pulwama. In August, the National Investigation Agency had filed a chargesheet in the case. Nineteen people, including Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and his brother Rauf Asghar, were named in the chargesheet.

The NIA’s investigation also revealed that Pakistan used Adil Ahmad Dar, the suicide bomber who rammed the CRPF convoy on February 14, because it wanted to project the attack as a result of a home-grown militancy against “India’s occupation of Kashmir”.

‘Lantern rule will return’

In another rally in Motihari district of Bihar, Modi again likened a Rashtriya Janata Dal government with “jungle raj” or barbarism, and alleged that the party was too corrupt to ever care for the poor.

“If they come back, jungle raj will be back in the state,” Modi said, according to the Hindustan Times. They never cared for you, otherwise Bihar wouldn’t have been left behind in path to development.”

The prime minister warned his supporters that an RJD government would push Bihar back to poverty and underdevelopment. “They think [of ways on] how can the lantern rule return, we think how can we light up your homes with LED bulbs,” Modi said. “They only want the return of jungle raj.” The RJD’s symbol is a lantern.

“Jungle Raj made sure all the industries and sugar mills which were the hallmark of Bihar were shut down,” Modi added. “In this election, Naxal sympathisers and those who talk about breaking the country into pieces have come together with those who seek to bring the jungle raj back in Bihar.”