Inaugurating the IBN Dialogue Bihar 2.0 event in Patna earlier on Friday, Nitish directly addressed fears and perceptions that his partnership with Lalu would see a return to lawlessness.
“Where is jungle raj? My government is in the minority. The Congress and RJD are already supporting us. Can you tell me of one instance of lawlessness in the last six months? Where is the jungle raj they are talking about,” asked Nitish taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, without naming him for spreading fear.
Appealing to an aspirational section of society, he said that he had successfully laid the foundation of basic development on which the next round of initiatives could be taken. “If given a chance, we will work towards taking development to the next level,” he said while dismissing the fear that his association with the RJD would derail the dvelopment agenda.
His nearly 50-minute-long address was heard in rapt attention by the audience comprising intellectuals, politicians, media and people from different walks of life.
Nitish said that in the past 10 years, he had resurrected the state, restored people’s faith in law and order and focussed on the human development agenda.
“Growth rate without justice would be inimical to people’s interest,” he said, adding that he had always been an advocate of “growth with justice” and cautioned the electorate to watch out for the “consistent attempts to introduce a divisive agenda in the garb of development”.
He said he was determined to ensure electricity supply to all households in the state by end of 2016. Referring to rising people’s expectations and aspirations of the youth, he said that his next round of development would address all major issues like skill development, WiFi facilities in educational centres, setting up of new medical colleges and nursing institutes. It was apparent that Nitish wanted to use the IBN Dialogue Bihar 2.0 , the first major political debate after the announcement of the Bihar election, as a platform.
Right after Nitish, his former deputy chief minister and current bête noire Sushil Modi took the podium and effectively countered Nitish on all counts. “Nitish Kumar has damaged Bihar far more than Lalu Yadav. Nitish Kumar deliberately derailed a train that was running very well on the development track.” He said the JDU-BJP alliance government was going full steam ahead when all of a sudden Nitish brought it (development) to a sudden stop.
Modi pointed out that the BJP was extremely supportive of Nitish even though he inflicted serious humiliation on party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi (then-chief minister of Gujarat). “We ignored all this for the development of Bihar,” he said, adding that Nitish was now running around for support from Lalu’s RJD and the Congress.
In what appeared to be a revelation, Modi said that Nitish had decided to part company with the BJP soon after the 2010 Assembly election. He said that Nitish tried to follow the example of Naveen Patnaik to build his own base. “Nitish invented the excuse of Narendra Modi and decided to follow a course which was inimical to Bihar,” Sushil Modi said.
The former deputy chief minister dismissed the accusation levelled against the BJP that the party was unable to find a chief ministerial candidate saying it would not adversely affect the party, because it believed in team work.