Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said Nitish had made a joke of Bihar by installing Jitan Ram Manjhi as chief minister. Besides, he said, Manjhi was made chief minister because Nitish was not in a position to face Modi after the JDU’s poor show in the Lok Sabha elections.
He said there were two power centres in Bihar “Nitish and Manjhi” like the UPA government had Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. And while Manjhi is the chief minister, it is Nitish who remote controls the show, Sushil said. And whenever Manjhi goes out of the “remote control’s range”, he is threatened and comes back. It is not surprising that Manjhi keeps complaining that nobody takes him seriously in the government, the BJP leader said. All this was contributing to the return of “jungle raj”, which the BJP has always associated with the Lalu era, he said.
Earlier, he used three words to explain the JDU government’s progress report “jungle raj 2, remote-controlled government and Sahma (terrified) Bihar”.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and senior state BJP leader in the state, Nand Kishore Yadav, said the report card the JDU government proudly presented on Tuesday included achievements of the NDA government (when the BJP was in alliance with the JDU).
He even equated the report to a Goebbelsian propaganda, which hid the truth on the ground.
He countered Nitish’s claim, in his Sampark Yatra, that he had restored law and order in the state and made it safer for women to walk the streets, by pointing at incidents of gang rape in the recent past. Giving details of rising crime graph, Nand Kishore said that in 2005 the number of murder cases was 3,423 and in 2014 (till August) 2,386, making no mention of the same from 2005 to 2013 when they, too, were in government. They, however, attacked Manjhi’s report card, saying it makes no mention of crime figures in the past 18 months.
Sushil Modi said that the strongmen like Pappu Yadav, Shabuddin, Prabhunath Singh, Anant Singh and Ritlal Yadav have already started flexing their arms more often these days.
Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey said the state was safe till the point JDU and BJP were together in government.
Nand Kishore countered claims of improved health by saying that just three days back a judge had had to move his father from IGIMS to a private hospital because the hospital did not even have a thermometer. “For past one and half year, work on National Health Insurance Scheme has come to a standstill, which indicates the state government is not bothered about executing ongoing schemes,” Nand Kishore said.
The former deputy chief minister tried to counter Nitish, claiming the latter was yet to respond to some questions he had raised on the medicine scam. Wondering why no probe report of the scam had surfaced, he said there was an attempt to shield Nitish’s friends, involved in the scam.
Hitting out at corruption, he alleged that transfers and postings came at a price now and also ridiculed Manjhi for having made his own son-in-law his personal assistant, violating a 2000 government order.
Attacking the government on infrastructure development, former road construction minister Nand Kishore said the report card has no mention of the government’s road maintenance policy. Despite declaring that potholes would be repaired anytime from 1-3 days, contractors were not repairing any roads.
On Nitish and then Manjhi’s flagship power sector, Nand Kishore said credit for improved power scenario goes to the Centre. “Around 77,000km of electricity wires have to be replaced but the government report card says that till March 2014, the government has changed 40,000km. If it took nine years to achieve that, how will the government replace the remaining 37,000km of wires in the remaining nine months,” Yadav asked.
The saffron party also tried to counter Manjhi government’s failure in utilising less than 25 per cent of its allocated funds. According to the BJP, only 20 per cent of funds had been utilised in the health sector, 25 per cent in education, 17.52 per cent in agriculture and 21.85 in SC/ST welfare.
“All these departments are key departments of the JDU government which Nitish and Manjhi have claimed to give much importance.”
But when asked how many times the government had utilised more than 25 per cent funds when the BJP was part of the government, Sushil said he would reveal that another time.
Reading out from the BJP’s assessment report, Nand Kishore said the JDU was fooling people by indicating just how many houses had been built for the urban poor since 2009 and not just in the past year. He said a proper reading would show no house had been built since last year, linking it to the time when the JDU severed ties with the BJP.
The backdrop of the press conference showed a cartoon in which Manjhi was having a great time while Nitish was at a lathi-wielding Lalu’s feet to save his government.
-The Telegraph, Calcutta