Bihar Assembly election: BJP’s 19 lakh jobs promise ‘gimmick’, says Congress

Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala (centre) addresses a press conference, in Patna, Bihar on October 22, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress on October 22 heaped scorn on the BJP for promising 19 lakh jobs in Bihar and a two-fold rise in the State’s GDP over the next five years, and wanted to know what happened to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of providing “two crore jobs a year”.

AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out at Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who released the BJP’s manifesto for Assembly elections earlier in the day, saying, “What do we make of claims about GDP made by a woman under whom the country’s growth rate has nosedived from 10% to minus 23%.”

The Congress leader, at a press conference in Patna, sought to embarrass the NDA, which rules the Centre as well as the State, by playing video clips of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar launching blistering attacks on each other.

The JD(U) chief, who is running for his fourth consecutive term in power, had won the 2015 Assembly elections as the chief ministerial candidate of the Grand Alliance which included the Congress and Lalu Prasad’s RJD.

“The BJP manifesto is full of gimmicks and comes nowhere close to ours released the day before. Instead of coming out with yet another jumla [gimmick] of 19 lakh jobs, the BJP would have done better by stating what came of the promise made by Modi before the 2014 general elections to provide 2 crore jobs per year,” Mr. Surjewala said.

“Had they been able to deliver on their promises, 12 crore people would have got employment across the country in the last six years. Bihar too would have benefited in due course. But since they have failed, they cannot be trusted anymore,” he said.

The Congress leader alleged the JD(U)-BJP combine has driven the State to the “brink of ruin” (badhaali ke kaggar par) in the last 15 years and said Mr. Kumar, who is called “sushasan babu” for his claims of ushering in good governance deserved the epithet “phisaddi babu” (laggard).

“It is not just we who say that Nitish Kumar has been a non-performer. A recent report of the Niti Aayog, which functions under the Modi government at the Centre, speaks volumes about the woeful situation of Bihar where students’ dropout rate is high, the number of qualified teachers is low, malnutrition exists on an alarming scale.

“Who else is responsible for the pathetic situation other than Nitish Kumar and Modi? The State has also suffered on account of the Centre’s indifference under Modi which the CM used to speak about earlier but now cannot since he is shackled [bediyon mein hain — an allusion to the tie-up with BJP],” the Congress leader said.

Mr. Surjewala said he always had respect for Mr. Nitish Kumar but was saddened upon seeing the JD(U) national president losing his cool at a rally on the previous day where he “asked young protesters to get out”.

The AICC general secretary was referring to a rally in Parsa seat where the JD(U) has fielded Chandrika Roy, the turncoat from RJD whose daughter Aishwarya is the estranged wife of Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav.

Mr. Kumar lost his cool when slogans were raised by a group of supporters of Chhote Lal Rai, who had won Parsa for JD(U) twice but quit the party unhappy over Ms. Chandrika Roy’s induction and is now in the fray as the RJD candidate.

“You people must leave if you do not want to listen. You need not vote for me. But do remember you will end up harming the prospects of the one who has sent you. He was with us till recently and ran away to the other side,” said a visibly irritated Mr. Kumar.

A stickler for propriety in public who rarely drags private affairs into political discourse, Mr. Kumar, who was annoyed by the episode, turned towards Ms. Chandrika Roy and Ms. Aishwarya who were seated on the dais and exclaimed, “What insults were heaped on this educated girl. Nature will make them [Lalu family] pay for their sins.”

“Nitish Kumar ji, you are on your way out. But please do not give vent to your frustration in this manner just because you are staring at a loss of power,” Mr. Surjewala added.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 5:46:09 AM |

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