Striking a chord with settlers from Bihar in Mumbai on Sunday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asserted that Constitution gave every Indian the right to move and settle anywhere in the country. He said migrants who came in search of means of livelihood could never be a burden on anyone.
“The people of Bihar eke out a living through hard work. The people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar can never be a burden; they will never be. They bear the burden, not become the burden,” Mr. Kumar said, addressing settlers from Bihar in the city as part of Bihar centenary celebrations.
Mr. Kumar's visit was preceded by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray's open threats of not allowing him in the city. However, Mr. Thackeray climbed down from his aggressive stand and called off the agitation.
In a veiled reference to Mr. Thackeray's rhetoric, Mr. Kumar said, “I do not speak much. The one who speaks a lot always creates a stir. We should speak to spread togetherness, not to create rifts. The Constitution gives equal rights to all and the right to move and settle anywhere in the country.”
“We are all proud of Mumbai as the financial capital. People should move from one part of the country to the other to contribute to the growth in other places. Why should there be differences? When people from other States came to Mumbai, they made this place theirs. We have to work towards the progress of the country as one,” he said.
Mr. Kumar paid glowing tributes to Maharashtra and its reformers. He even began and ended his speech in Marathi. He wondered why the people of Bihar had to face problems in Mumbai. “There are many similarities between Maharashtra and Bihar. The freedom struggle began in a way with the Champaran satyagraha. And, it was in Mumbai that Quit India movement was kick-started,” he said.
He invited the people of Maharashtra to celebrate Maharashtra day in Bihar. Presenting a picture of a changing Bihar, Mr. Kumar pointed out that there was a fall in migration out of Bihar.
“The face of Bihar is changing. It was lagging behind earlier, but now we are moving ahead. I want to create a Bihar from where people won't have to move out elsewhere to earn a living. We implemented the rule of law. In the last six years, over 70,000 criminals have been punished. You see over 50 per cent women in local bodies. Women and disadvantaged sections are contributing to the State's progress. No one had thought that Bihar would see this change,” he said.