NEW DELHI: Ahead of the high-stakes Bihar elections, a BJP-affiliated think tank has debunked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s development claims and said his walking out of the NDA “negatively impacted” the quality of governance in the state.
Public Policy Research Centre (PPRC), headed by BJP Vice President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, has said, “All key development indicators analysed in this study underscore the fact that split of the BJP-JD(U) has impacted highly negatively on the quality of governance and thereby the lives of the people of Bihar.”
The PPRC has concluded in its study that development work suffered after Nitish walked out of the BJP-led NDA following Narendra Modi’s elevation as the party’s election campaign committee chief in 2013.
To drive home its point, the study has cited the fall in economic growth from 15 per cent in 2012-13 to nine per cent.
PPRC, which claims to have studied the impact of the split on governance, said only 70 per cent of the state schools have toilets for boys and barely 58 per cent for girls, an important reason for girls dropping out.
During 2011-12 and 2012-13, 22,575 and 17009 new toilets were constructed in schools respectively, but the figure dropped to 5076 in 2013-14 after Nitish parted ways with BJP.
Referring to Bihar’s infant mortality rate of 42 per 1000 births against the national average of 40, the research helmed by Ujjwal Agrain, a Fellow at PPRC, says, “Infant mortality rate is another reflection of the fact that Bihar continues to perform poorly on health parameters.”
Bihar had 533 community health centres (CHCs) in 2009 and it remained unchanged till 2014, the research paper said, adding the the number of CHCs per million people is significantly lower at 0.67 compared to the national average of 4.43.
About infrastructure development, it has claimed that the the kilometres of road built annually also saw a significant decline under Nitish. “In 2006-07, Bihar constructed 337 kms of new roads. In 2010-11 (when the two parties were together), 383.35 kms of new roads were added. The figure stood at 192 kms in 2013-14 (after the two split),” it said.
BJP is likely to use the findings to target Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance in the assembly elections.
“Forced exit of BJP for sheer vote-bank politics severely affected the Nitish Kumar government…Its stability heavily suffered as the new alliance (of JD(U),RJD and Congress) that was hurriedly given some shape lacks credibility.
“It is an opportunistic alliance of ex-adversaries who abused each other at several occasions and for a long time. Hence it is never considered an enduring partnership,” the research paper says.