This fight is a matter of Bihar’s Swaabhimaan, says Nitish Kumar
Patna: Claiming that Prime
Minister Narendra Modi has been repeating untruths for “bumper publicity” while
campaigning in the state, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday used
data and documents to state his case.
Even as he insisted
that the PM stick to facts, CM Kumar erred by attributing a substantiating
quote to the wrong man: “I have always maintained that if the media does not do
its job, then politics is in trouble…. Hitler’s minister Goebbels has said that
if you say a lie repeatedly, people will come to believe it.” The quote is
often wrongly attributed to Joseph Goebbels.
Kumar was speaking at a
press conference convened at the JD (U) office here to refute the various
claims made by the PM in his rallies. He repeated and even extended the
Bihari-bahari idea put forward on Friday, when he distinguished between himself
and Modi, an outsider to the state: “This fight is a matter of Bihar’s Swaabhimaan.”
He criticised the PM’s
silence on the lynching of a man in Greater Noida’s Dadri because the mob
thought he ate beef and questions on caste reservations raised by RSS chief
Mohan Bhagwat. “There is nothing more funny than the BJP trying to raise the
beef issue here; it has never mattered in Bihar,” said Kumar.
The CM spent a
considerable amount of time unpacking Modi’s Bihar Rs 1.25 lakh crore package
for the state, announced on August 18. Quoting from a September 18 letter from
Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley, Kumar said that most of the money in
the package would remain with the central government. “What does the Bihar
government get from this? He says whatever he wants and leaves. He gets bumper
publicity…. A person like the PM has been untruths,” said Kumar, adding that
the package was, in fact, repackaging.
Quoting figures, Kumar
claimed that the Modi government had not even done as much as the previous UPA
regime to raise MSP of various items. “He talks of the low number of toilets in
Bihar. He is right…. But then, before he became PM, he was the CM of Gujarat
for 12 years. You say why 39 per cent of Gujarat’s households don’t have
toilets. Yet you go and insult other states,” Kumar said, calling the PM’s
tactic “hit and run.”
Kumar went on to quote
NCRB data to claim Bihar was safer than Delhi, whose police answers to the
Union Home Ministry. He said that Bihar has performed well in the health sector
even as Gujarat faces a shortage of specialists.
The CM said consumption
of electricity had gone up during his time. “I’m told that when the PM asked in
Samastipur,” Bijli aayaa?” people responded with “Aayiiii” but it was not
reported,” said Kumar, to laughter in the room.