Battle for Bihar News

Nitish’s package is Centre’s money, says Modi

“Those who were indulging in caste politics are forced to announce packages.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on the development of Bihar and took a dig at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad at his Parivartan rally here on Tuesday.

Mr. Modi was visibly happy at the large turnout and said this was enough to gauge the people’s mood. “The people of Bihar have now decided to vote for a developed Bihar, a progressive Bihar,” he said.

Referring to the Rs.1.65-lakh crore special package he had announced at the Ara rally, Mr. Modi said: “For the first two or three days, Mr. Nitish Kumar ridiculed it, but thereafter he was forced to announce a Rs. 2.70-lakh crore package for the State. Those who have been indulging in caste politics for the last 25 years are forced to announce packages, and talk about development.

“But their habit of cheating people remains unchanged. Every year, the Central government gives Rs. 50,000-55,000 crore to the State government for development and after five years that comes to around Rs. 2.5-2.7 lakh crore… it is this amount they have declared as the package for the next five years… they have cheated the people.”

Mr. Modi said the 14th Finance Commission had decided to give Rs. 3.76-lakh crore to Bihar for its development and the Rs. 1.65-lakh crore he had announced would be in addition to this. “And you [Mr. Nitish Kumar] are offering a Rs. 2.70 lakh crore package… You should ask him where the remaining Rs. 1.6 lakh crore will go... Will it go for fodder,” he asked in an apparent dig at Mr. Nitish Kumar’s alliance with RJD chief Lalu Prasad, a convict in the fodder scam case.

In his 45-minute speech, Mr. Modi pointed out how Bihar had been lagging in the health sector. “The number of community health centres in the country has gone up from 3,300 to 5,300. In Madhya Pradesh, it is up from 229 to 334 and in Chhattisgarh, from 116 to 157. But in Bihar, between 2005 and 2014, it has come down from 101 to 70. Bihar could not even utilise the Rs. 521 crore given by the Union government for the health sector.”

Responding to Mr. Nitish Kumar’s charge that Bihar had finally caught the Prime Minister’s attention some 14 months after the Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Modi said he was the first to call up the Bihar Chief Minister after the earthquake in Nepal recently.

“I was the first person to speak to the then Chief Minister, Jitan Ram Manjhi, who was not with us then, when a stampede happened at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan…I was the first Prime Minister who sent disaster management officials to Nepal when a landslide blocked waters of the River Kosi. Bihar has always been on my mind…but those who have ruined Bihar in the last 25 years have to give an account first,” he said.

“When I come to you for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, I’ll give an account of my government. But before that, the one who said he would not come to the people for vote in 2015 if electricity was not provided to every household owes an explanation,” he said, referring to Mr. Nitish Kumar’s promise during the previous Assembly elections.

As for the recent Swabhiman rally of the grand alliance, in which Mr. Nitish Kumar and Mr. Lalu Prasad shared the dais with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Modi said they “cremated” the ideals of Ram Manohar Lohia, Jai Prakash Narayan and Karpoori Thakur. “The disciples of Ram Manohar Lohia struck an alliance with those he fought against…the disciples of Jai Prakash Narayan shook hands with those who put him in jail, from which he never recovered and passed away.”

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 12:49:30 PM |

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