On a mission to build his party in poll-bound Bihar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday stuck to his view that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was a man of good intentions but his government has thoroughly failed in implementation of welfare schemes like NREGA.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Gandhi also alleged that 20 to 30 per cent of funds under NREGA were going to “middlemen” in Bihar.
“The intention of Nitish Kumar is good but his government has been a total failure on the implementation front,” he said.
He was replying to questions on his remarks during the Lok Sabha elections that Nitish Kumar was a good leader with good intentions.
On allegations that adequate Central assistance was not reaching Bihar, Mr. Gandhi said, “During the NDA regime, Rs 50,000 crore were given to Bihar while the UPA government has sent Rs 96,000 crore to the state.
“It is nearly a 100 per cent increase. Assistance will go up but fund utilisation is a problem. Money is not reaching the poor under NREGA and for schools and hospitals. There is no dearth of money but there is only lack of utilisation,” he said.
He lauded the Congress governments in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Assam and Rajasthan for bringing assistance to the poor through NREGA.
On price rise, Mr. Gandhi said he has spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and action was being taken to tackle the problem.
“One aspect of it relates to the developments on the international front, while the other is hoarding and this has to be dealt with by the state governments”, he said.
Mr. Gandhi said that a “major change” will come in Bihar with more and more young people joining the Congress party.